Subject: what did you do in the war?
Date: Mon 23 Aug 1999 - 13:19:28 BST
This seems to be the question:
What side of the war between the sexes are you on?
Some of us are clearly on the women's team, happily sitting in Mary Daly's
Some of us are clearly on the men's team, even if we wear dresses.
Some of us are contentious objectors to the whole war, believing that we can
stop a war that has raged since sexual dimorphism evolved.
Some of us deny the war occurs. "There is no difference between men and
women," we claim.
Some of us see ourselves as infiltrators sneaking across the lines.
Some of us see ourselves as political prisoners, held by the other side
against our will. We wonder why people who should see we are on their side
see us as collaborators.
I don't believe any kid wants to be trans. We don't dream of being betwixt
and between, we dream of being a girl or a boy.
We dream of being normative, but then learn that we have to take a side in
the war between the sexes. We are torn between our heart and the
expectations of culture. We are asked to declare our allegiance at the door
to every restroom, even if we believe we are lying when we do it
Each one of us deals with that in our own way.
Some of us shift bodies so we can shift teams. We hide our past
affiliations, often becoming zealous converts to cover any traces of our past.
Some of us are twisted by the strain. We believe we live right on the
battleground, that everyone is against us. We learn to live in armor.
Some of us shift in invisible ways, have a different belief than vision.
Some of us stay neutral -- or neutered.
Still, everybody grows up aware of that war, and aware that sides have been
drawn up. The war between the sexes is a fact of every human culture that
has ever existed.
The ground rules of that war have changed drastically over the last 50 years.
The woman's movement means lines are not nearly so well drawn, but media
images draw those lines in new ways, surfaces of what women should be what
men should be. We live in a transient culture where surfaces have become
key, because there is no time to build long lasting and enduring
relationships that let us see connections and changes over time.
The goal of gender theory has to be to look at the line between inborn sex
roles and culture gender roles.
The goal of gender politics has to be to define the parameters of the war
between the sexes. How do we find ways to keep the best parts of a war
footing -- the excitement of difference, the benefits of conflict in keeping
balance -- and the best parts of an egalitarian culture, where each is free
to be all they can be?
Yet, the war rages, and what most people are concerned about is simple: they
want to defend their own position rather than work to find new ways to make
the war something of benefit to society.
I, for one, don't believe that the war between the sexes will be ended in
humans in any foreseeable future. We like it too much, it is coded too deep
in the primeval and sexually-dimorphic brain. Even the separation of sex
from reproduction, something that will happen in the next 50 years, won't
erase those deep sex-role instincts.
We can talk about the war in theoretical terms, and that's good. But
everyday we also have to live in the war zone. And those of us who are not
clearly men or women, not clearly maled or femaled, live in
no-man's/no-woman's land. We are shelled at from both sides.
Is there a benefit in choosing a team, being in the mainstream, and then
using our clout on that team to build a place of safety and a force for
change in our lives? Or are we best served by standing in the battleground
and staying in the armor of our choice, be that paranoia, denial,
dissociation or spiritual faith?
What did you do in the war between the sexes?
It seems the question.
(who plans to be out of trans in another week)
This archive was generated by hypermail 2a23 : Thu 02 Sep 1999 - 02:40:37 BST