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um... who me? uh i guess i'm the lounge's resident tranny. old school bustie formerly known as butta.

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 | Category: politics
entry Jul 10 2008, 02:59 AM
this is a post i wrote in the constructing/deconstructing thread. i've been going thru bust kind of picking the scabs over some old wounds. it's painful, but i am kind of amazed that i have some sort of talent for writing these really interesting, complex nuggets and simplifying. pulling things from around me.

the argument sprung out of another discussion and, i think, me saying i was thinking about getting a boob job in another thread. granted, a rather provocative statement on a feminist board, but, i said it out of wanting to investigate/interrogate my own thoughts on the subject. to mull them over with some friends (so i thought with some of the busties), honestly, forthrightly.
Jan 30 2007, 09:46 PM
i come at this from an odd angle. in many ways being trans, means, no matter how attractive, i am almost always the "the unattractive friend", as pug put it, because i was born a boy. but with tg girls, i am the 'lucky one', because i am pretty for a tg. sometimes i am both in the space of 2 minutes. but the same circomstances apply for tgirls--if a woman's worth is in her attractiveness, it's even more so for tgirls. the passable ones are given preference. from the start, my idea was to assume i wasn't passable, and never would be. i assume everyone i meet knows i am tg. but if people think i am attractive before they know, that changes quickly when they find out.

i think a lot of the same things apply if you are a brown kid, there have been studies about how we have less of a chance at loans from banks, and simply having pictures of black people in a house for sale can devalue it by thousands.

along the way, dolly pardon popped up. ok, i brought it
Jan 31 2007, 01:34 PM
i was thinking about something along the same lines as your question in the second paragraph, but i was thinking of someone who i think is a feminist, and the quintessentual symbol of a man's idea of a woman:dolly parton. can she be a feminist? how about mae west? many of the women who trade on that visual power of the attractive woman/pretty girl are also trailblazers to be both are also heroines to me. they were more than happy to take power when need be. they made choices that were right for them dispite what the men around them said. mae west was a playwriter and was responsible for the career of cary grant. she called the shots on her films. dolly parton is an extremely prolific songwriter who refused to sell the publishing for her songs-- unheard of when she started. i was watching a bio on her and they were talking about how elvis wanted to record the song "i will always love you." he was the biggest star on the planet, and if he recorded a song, a condition of him recording it was that he would own half of the music rights and publishing. dolly refused. she said she did the work, she wanted to keep the rights. that is a very feminist stand....

as for feeling less feminist when i am 'the lucky one" no. i'm me. i know who i am, and my point of view, and actually, it's kind of depressing. i am very tied to memories of when i started to transition, so being ridiculed on busses, ostricized by other t-girls, very obviously a boy... plus, being the 'lucky one' in t-girl land is like having a target on your back. my feminist stand when it comes to that community was being a visable 'rule breaker' and encouraging other tg bois+girls to do the same at the queer drop-in center i helped at. i caught a lot of shit from tgirls and drag queens for being me-- they would talk shit about how i was a skateboarder, and "was confused." but that skateboard was-- and is my symbol of what a woman is to me. i make my own choices, define who and what i am, and if it means having little community, then so be it. my feminism is a personal one. i do what makes me happy. i want to be my own heroine.

Feb 2 2007, 11:13 AM
what is interesting here (to me) is the purpose of that dolly's image isn't about the male gaze, although that may be a side result. anyone who has heard dolly talk about how she came about her look knows it's more a matter of self-determination and self-conception*, to me that makes it feminist, because her actions were about pleasing herself rather than a man. and isn't that the bedrock of feminism?

*dolly has said countless times that when she was a girl she was in town with her mom and she saw a woman who her mom described as "trash" and thinking she was the prettiest woman in the world, replied to her mom's comment by saying "that's what i want to be when i grow up!"

this was in response to someone who said they didn't think we should use the word "patriarchy." this is a bit rough-- it was in the middle of some pretty heated arguments, and well, it's a forum so it's not been edited. but the point isn't that i am gung-ho about patricarchy, but rather, that to erase the word from our lexicon handicaps us in concisely making our argument. from there i go on to talk about a theory i had forgotten: femme theory, which, i am really interested studying in detail.

Mar 12 2007, 12:58 AM

well, i'd like to agree with you, and i guess in someways that i do, but discarding patriarchy because it's outdated?

the trendiness of a word is kind of irrelevant, if it accurately describes words in a concise way. i think of patriarchy as a shortcut. without it you end up using a feew sentances to get to the same meaning as one word. patriarchy hasn't outlived it's usefulness by a longshot.

that said, i think i know what you are getting at. it's been discussed a lot here lately. you want to move away from a constrictive definition of feminism. (although you phrased it in terms of the patriarchy). the problem with that is that it falls in to the right wing trap of absolving the patriarchy. it's a neat trick, and an easy one to fall into. but the problem isn't the word patriarchy, it's an old, antiquated, fixed idea of feminism.

i think that is one of the reasons that some younger women are afraid of calling themselves feminists-- they equate it not with what feminism has become-- an evolving idea of gender equality as a benefit to society-- both men and women. republicans tend to promote that old concept in language, using terms like "feminazi" to recall a man-hating feminism that hasn't existed for decades. it's to their advantage-- it's just another way that they use fear. they ignore the fact that feminism has been evolving from the start. it's incorperated different classes, cultures, racial and gender identities. but that 'focus on the male gaze' (a hilarously smart turn of phrase, btw) is still needed as long as it is men still in power.

femme identity, is, to my mind, the next thing that needs to be seriously incorperated into that gender equality ethos. i posted something in another thread talking about a cableshow here in seattle that was talking about femme identity, and femme resistance. it's a concept that comes from the dyke community, where there is often a butch/femme dichotomy in dating. as long as there has been a butch identity in the dyke community there has been one for femmes. for long stretches femmes were either, bimbos or traitors. but for some time there has been a new undertanding of femme strength, and the ways a femme identity uses and flexes it's power. sadly most times power is viewed only thru a prism of masculinity. but femme power is just as potent. it's just that most people are unaccustomed to viewing and calling that power.

one of the people on that cable show made this illustration:
"now, if i got a flat tire, which takes more intellegence? to change the tire myself, or to charm someone into doing it for me? the end result is the same. it's just a different kind of energy used to get the job done each way."

there was an illustration about femme resistance talking about when a butch would get in an alteration with a straight male. the femme would interceed using her femininity to defuse the anger in the situation. in that case the femme power is stronger than the masculine.

i agree that it is useful to have a view that is complex rather than one that is simple. bianaries are such a typically western way of thinking. and i think there is more than enough room in that evolving idea of feminism. it'd be another way that feminism is-- and has-- moved away from it being a movement of middle class white women to one that is inclusive of all types of women and men who believe in the equality of the sexes.

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