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.