Butch Visibility in a Man’s World

I was doing a very normal thing this morning: taking out my trash. I was casually dressed in sweats, a t-shirt because I was outside getting a few things done; and a ball cap because it was sunny outside. As I get to the trash can at the end of my driveway, a truck pulls up and a guy yells out, “Hey Buddy!” I told him I wasn’t his buddy and asked him what he wanted. He got upset, mumbled something about how he wanted to ask me something and that he didn’t know what he did to me but whatever. I ignored him and went back into my house.

Was I a little harsh? Maybe. A lot of people, and I mean a LOT of people judge me based on my clothing, how I walk and stand, how short my hair is, my ball cap, etc and they conclude within 2 seconds of seeing me that I am a man. I won’t lie, it is upsetting for us butches to be mistaken for men like that. It makes us feel invisible and it discounts the fact that we are women, which is something we still are no matter what we do or wear and we are proud of this fact. We are absolutely nothing like men, so to be mistaken for men shows us that the world did and does see us in the black and white of the patriarchal binary system.

Do you know what I didn’t do? I didn’t threaten to kill him or threaten him with rape for his mistake. I said a few words and wasn’t a polite timid woman apologizing to him for HIS mistake, but I didn’t do what so many men who pretend to be women do: I didn’t threaten, harass, or stalk him for mistaking me for a man.

As I said, we are completely different from men. We don’t think or act like men and we sure as hell don’t want to BE men. When people accuse us of this, it is either because they truly don’t understand what and who butches are or because they are trying to humiliate, discredit, and/or silence us.

Butches are at both the forefront and at the back of the LGB community. A butch was right there at Stonewall as one of the people who started the riots that sparked the LGB civil rights movement. Butches are highly visible, which leads to taunts, slurs hurled at us, beatings, rape, and death. We are antagonized for being butch women because we are not, according to society, the “right” kind of women.

At the same time as all of the above, we are also invisible. We are not represented in TV, movies, or other media. When we do happen to end up on TV, it is either as a caricature that is made fun of or we are expected to dress, act, and BE more feminine to please the general audience.

And then you have a group of individuals who are trying to erase butches from the planet completely. They are doing everything in their power to render us extinct. This group is comprised of 2 types of people: (1) the men who claim to be women and then further claim to be butches (see Tobi Hill-Miller, etc.); (2a) the women who feel the right course of action in this patriarchal binary system is to attempt to transition into men, but still call themselves butches (FtM or F2Tg); (2b) the women who are butches, but insist that they are also somehow male by labeling themselves “male-identified” butches.

These people make it almost impossible for young lesbians who are “different,” who are baby butches, but don’t know where they fit in this world to be ok with the women that they are. These young women are encouraged and even brainwashed into transitioning into something similar to men because they are taught that to be a different kind of woman is bad. They are taught that the binary is king and that they must choose: masculine = man and feminine = woman.

To be anything else, a masculine woman or a feminine man would be an abomination in these binary-loving people’s eyes. So they preach and they intimidate and they brainwash and they bully these young women (and sometimes even older women fall into this trap) into taking hormones, having healthy breasts cut off, having healthy uteri and ovaries removed, all in the name of patriarchy.

So we are disappearing. As we watch our sisters try to embrace all that is male in order to be more accepted by the patriarchy and as we watch more and more young women trying to transform their bodies into something more acceptable to this male-dominated society, butches are disappearing and being replaced by fakes who distort who we are.

Something has to be done soon about this trans epidemic or we will eventually end up with the total extinction of butches; and that would be a shame. Transwomen are already bastardizing the very idea of what and who a woman is by trying to claim the one thing men have never really owned: femaleness. We cannot allow women to continue to hurt themselves by trying to change their bodies and delude themselves into thinking that change will make society accept them.

There is a whole generation of wonderful butch voices that needs to be heard. There are butches still out here who could be role models to young lesbians, showing them that it is k do be different, it is ok to love your butch body, it is ok to be women who the patriarchy and this binary system of being will never accept.

Acknowledge our existence.

Acknowledge our experience.

Know there is a better way of being butch in this man’s world.

Male Privilege at Work on Tumblr

I wanted to share this “response” I received to my male privilege post on Tumblr to illustrate male privilege at work. I could not get fiend-and-dreams’ name in his response, so I also capped the snippet I saw on my Tumblr homepage so there would be no confusion as to whom the comments belong. 

fiends-and-dreams-2

fiends-and-dreams

As you can see, in typical male fashion, fiends-and-dreams did not read my post, but had a lot to say to me about how wrong I am. This is typical male behavior that stems from privilege; the thought that I don’t have to listen to you, but you need to listen to me tell you why you are wrong.

He quickly justifies people who may be trying to bully and intimidate me as well as threaten me because male privilege allows him to ignore how often women’s lives are truly in danger from men. He then goes on to mock how women would like to have personal spaces away from males/men because as women, we deal with violence, advancement, harassment, etc. from men every single day. We need to be able to be in safe private spaces away from males, especially those males who see fit to show their genitalia to women and girls as a part of their fetish (which is what most MtF transgenders are: fetishists), but instead of seeing and understanding that, he mocks it.

He also mocks women who would feel uncomfortable in a private space, such as a rest room or changing room with a naked male bodied person. This is clear privilege at work, because only a man could mock women fearing for their safety when statistics show that 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted in their lifetime; and most of us believe this number to be higher, especially since it doesn’t attribute women who are assaulted more than once.

Men do not see this threat to women because they do not have to and this man is a perfect example of how male privilege allows men to view women who fear for their safety: that we are being silly and just need to “use (our) damn heads.”

He also mocks women who do not want to have sex with male bodied people because most men seem to believe that every woman in the world just needs a little dick and everything will be ok. The assumption that one would have to be in the throes of passion to figure out that said male bodied person has a penis is (a) insulting to women everywhere because it assumes that we cannot tell a male in a dress from a female, and (b) shows us how devious he would be if the time to disclose that he has a penis would be when the clothes come off and we would be expected to say “no,” which, according to him would be “rude”; the implication being that we should just shut up and have sex with him already.

Finally, he shows us that he has not examined himself or his life at all by ignorantly exclaiming that trans women have no privilege, when in fact, he is proof positive that most, if not all transwomen still carry internalized privilege and the attitudes about women that have been instilled in them since birth. He, once again, mocks women by insisting that male privilege has to be a conscious thought when the rest of his comment shows us how sneaky privilege is. His attitudes towards me and other women come roaring out of his post through his mocking of women who fear for their safety, mocking sexual violence towards women, and mocking women who do not want to have sex with a penis.

The last sentence where he calls me a bitch is just typical male behavior that I see all the time from men who cannot believe I have a mind of my own and do not bow to their whims, desires, and opinions.

Thank you fiends-and-dreams for helping me to make and illustrate my point.

An Incredible Example of Unprovoked Transgender Vitriol

projectz975

This was a response to my blog on male privilege. Usually, I ignore these rants of theirs, especially when it is clear they did not actually read my post, but just decided to turn their rage for the day onto me for being a woman and having my own opinion. But this one was so over the top, so incredible, that I felt I should share it and post about it.

First of all, projectz975, thank you for proving my point by going right to the anger and name calling. The only thing missing, of course, is how I should “die in a fire,” or some other such nonsense.

Secondly, really? THAT’S what you got from my post? Did you even read it or did you just skim a bit and then go off the deep end into a rage that even you can’t explain?

If you would, please tell me where I mention how transwomen have no right to be upset about whatever it is that upsets you on any given day. Then, let me know the passage where I mention chromosomes of any kind. Then, find for me the spot where I mention how you are agry (sic) because you are a sexist man; also, point out where I used the word sexist, at all.

Finally, do me a favor and point out to me where in my post I treated you or anyone else “like shit.” I believe my post was about male privilege and how transwomen still have internalized male privilege, especially when speaking to and dealing with women. I also mentioned that unless transwomen do the work by examining and combating their privilege, things will never change.

Your hatred for women is very clear in your rant, as is your inability to read and comprehend something very simple and straight forward. I find the depth of your rage over something as simple as a woman pointing out that men have male privilege to be somewhat telling and I have to wonder if maybe you should talk this over with your therapist so that the two of you can get to the root of your anger and hatred towards women.

I do thank you for this rant though, projectz975, as it illustrates perfectly exactly what I am talking about in my post and, honestly, the more women that see this kind of extreme behavior brought on without provocation the better.

Male Privilege

I think it’s time we talked about male privilege; because that’s what’s really happening here with MtF transgenders’ violence towards women, attacking women, calling women bigots, etc. They are so filled with their own privilege, they cannot even fathom why women are not cool with allowing these men into their private spaces, seeing them nude, and having sex with them; or why women would have minds and opinions of their own and not take these men’s word as law.

Even for those MtFs who present as and may be viewed by society as women (very strong emphasis on “may”), they might put up with some sexism and see a change in their male privilege outwardly, but inside, they are still the same. Inside they still hold the same attitudes about women and the same view of the world that they did as boys and men. Putting on a dress and make up, even taking hormones doesn’t change the internalized male privilege they still have and display every chance they get.

Male privilege begins at birth. The doctor looks between the infants legs and either declares, “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” and from that moment on, our fates are sealed because of how this patriarchal society is set up and how girls and women are viewed vs. boys and men.

From that moment on, men are treated differently than women. Men have all of the advantages, the opportunities, the better jobs, the higher pay. Women grow up being taught that they need a man to take care of them, that they need to be and remain young, thin, and beautiful to get a man, and that the man is always right and just in his actions; and if you think he isn’t, it is you, not him.

Men are taught to take what they want, even through violent means, if necessary. They are taught that women are less than and that using words like bitch and pussy are wonderful put downs for other men. Even the term faggot is rooted in misogyny and male privilege since a fag is considered a feminine man; and femininity in men is frowned upon in this society. If feminine men wasn’t such a stigma, I posit there would be no need for transgenderism at all, but that’s another post altogether.

No one who is born and raised a male in this society can understand what it means to be raised a female in a patriarchal society. They can’t know the fear that comes from knowing that any man on the street can take what he wants or that any date or outing to a club can end in rape; and odds are good that he will get away with it. Putting on a dress does not suddenly take away their male privilege because it is ingrained in them. Their attitudes and the way they conduct themselves and speak at (no to, at) women doesn’t just “go away” with a dress and some hormones.

Women like me see it every single day. The violent rhetoric. Being called transphobic or a bigot for pointing out biology or refusing to have sex with someone who has a penis. Men who purport to be women constantly telling me how I should think, feel, and speak.

Women do not talk at each other like that. Women do not tell each other how to think or feel or what to say. Women don’t react violently when another woman disagrees with them.

These are things that men do. Why? Their internalized male privilege. The attitude that they can do and say anything they want and we women are supposed to accept it as truth without question; and if we question them, then there must be something wrong with us, not them (see “transphobia”).

I wish male privilege could “go away” so easily and magically. I wish that every man who declares himself a woman while wearing a dress and make up and even when taking hormones could know what it is truly like to be a woman in this society. If they could, they might treat us a little differently. They might be less likely to go straight to violence. They might be willing to let us have our spaces as we let them have theirs. They might even be able to see things from our point of view and build a bridge of communication.

Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy. Without examining and combating their male privilege, things will never change. They will always wish to dominate, humiliate, intimidate, bully, and manipulate women.

So, gentlemen, every single time you call me a bigot, every time you come at me with violence, every time you try to tell me what I can think, say, and/or do, you are only showing me that you have not done the work to examine and combat your own internalized male privilege. You are showing me that you still see women as objects that you need to possess and control. You are showing me that you are, indeed, still men.

A Gender Critical Response to: A Statement of Trans-Inclusive Feminism and Womanism

A wonderfully written response to the horribly written and erroneous “Statement of Trans-Inclusive Feminism and Womanism.”

Take a few minutes to read the whole thing, as she makes a lot of great points. -BBB

Sex matters.

This is my response to the reactionary and misguided “A Statement of Trans-Inclusive Feminism and Womanism” (The Statement) posted at FeministsFightingTransphobia.wordpress.com.

We can all agree, I think, that people’s actual lives are more important than theoretical abstractions– including those related to “identity.” This is precisely why, as feminists, we demand acknowledgement for the lived realities and material conditions of women’s lives, including the social mechanics of sex-and-gender-assignment that ultimately give rise to women’s oppression. But beyond this, there are a truly alarming number of misrepresentations, inconsistencies, and logical errors in The Statement. I will address many of them below.

First things first, I want to point out that characterizing gender critical feminists as “transphobic feminists” remains unsupported where “transphobia” is not defined. Repeated use of this term to demonize a certain kind of political speech or political actor is clearly intended to be insulting rather than instructive; it serves as a…

View original post 3,416 more words

Definition of Lesbian

The definition of lesbian has been and always will be the romantic and sexual attraction between 2 females. There never has been nor will there ever be a penis in a lesbian relationship.

You can put the penis under a pair of panties and/or under a skirt or a dress. You can even try to convince the ignorant and those without the capacity to think critically that the penis is a female sex organ; but the fact will remain that it is a penis attached to a male body and neither belong in a lesbian relationship.

Shaming, guilting, and/or intimidating lesbians into accepting the penis as a part of their sex life is sexist, misogynistic, and could even be considered sexual assault. Dare I say, some might even consider that action to be lesbophobic.

Lesbians do not want to have sex with males and their penises, that is the very definition of what it is to be a lesbian; and no amount of rhetoric, no amount of screaming about transphobia, no amount of coercion will ever change that fact.

Guest Post — A Black Butch Speaks: Addressing Female Oppression by Pippa Fleming

This is a fantastic analogy on how we treat young black and butch girls who hate their bodies and wish to change things about themselves in order to become more like the rest of society instead of being taught to love themselves and their bodies, society be damned.

 

As lesbians and especially as butches, we need to step out more, be more visible, let our voices be heard, and even mentor a young butch struggling with her body and how it does not conform to society’s standards.

 

Society needs to change, not the individual it chooses not to accept.

Bev Jo -- Radical Lesbian Feminist writing

A Black Butch Speaks: Addressing Female Oppression

Guest Post by Pippa Fleming

I’ve been holding silence for quite some time but now it’s time for me to speak.

When a Black child presents with signs of internalized racism, we want to protect them. We want them to know they are perfect as they are and loved for exactly who they are. If we are conscience Black folks, we try to infuse our young people with the knowledge, skills, wisdom and support necessary, so they may survive and thrive in this racist society.

If little Lakesha comes home with “mommy I hate being Black and I want to be white” we are shocked, dismayed and sadden by her self loathing and rush to find the source of her oppression. Is it school, the media, her peers, society or all of the above?

So why when little butch Lakesha comes home with…

View original post 300 more words