Transwomen and Male Violence: An Analogy

Originally posted at Gender Detective

Like the social classes “man” and “woman,” the nations of North and South Korea are political structures that bring down wildly divergent impacts on the lives of those inside them. Just as the DMZ spans the length between them, the line dividing the gender hierarchy is policed with lethal violence. When men attempt to cross that border, the results can be devastating.

The situation above diverges from the experiences of women and transwomen in a few ways. Most importantly, I don’t think the motives of men who identify as women are nearly as pure as the ex-pat’s political ideology, and “South Korean socialization” does not exacerbate violence in the way male socialization does.

But I think the central comparison makes two clear points: First, there is a meaningful difference between the immediate violence done to those who cross the boundaries of their position in the hierarchy, and the diffuse and lifelong violence that occurs to those trapped in the bottom of that hierarchy; and secondly, that it is foolish at best and insulting at worst to prioritize the violence done to those who actively transgress their position of power over those who experience daily, lifelong oppression through nothing but fault of birth.

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