Sorry, Dudes: Exclusion from Femininity is Privilege, Not Oppression

Originally posted at Gender Detective

Some days, queer theory feels like an elaborate practical joke.

I’m writing this after a good four hours spent in a marathon Twitter exchange, so forgive me if I’m a little short. The man in question was your average trans dude, berating women for their refusal to accept his identification as female; he did not take well to the news that, black choker and bad haircut aside, he wasn’t actually a woman. Over dozens of obnoxious Tweets, he accused so-called “TERFs” of “gatekeeping femininity,” “denying him womanhood,” and deciding that he wasn’t “worthy of the feminine.” Yes, he was actually claiming that his inability to wear fuck-me pumps was 1) due to the heartless machinations of radical feminists, and 2) evidence of oppression. Amazingly, all of this was said with a straight – and heavily painted – face.

This idea that men suffer greatly from being “denied” femininity is becoming more and more common. You can’t go far in queer circles without seeing males lament their inability to freely wear high heels, corsets, lipstick, and other feminine gender markers. The implication is always that women are comparatively privileged because femininity is socially acceptable for them, whereas these poor men are endlessly mocked, shamed, and even brutalized for dressing as they do – unlike women, of course, who never experience violence in public places from masculine men.

Continue Reading…

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