After both The Atlantic and Penny Red wrote articles on the matter my mind began to ponder in earnest the phenomenon of total gender deviants. The former article gives an overview of the matter in America, with a focus on children, while the latter (as usual) gives the most rational feminist view possible (still not as rational as the post-feminst argument, as ever, but remarkably convincing. With regards to Victoria Beckam being as "fake" a woman as any transexual is, that is. The whole Whipping Girl argument that disdain for transexuals stems from disdain for feminity, though, is nonsense: if that were the case female-to-male transexuals would attract no negative attention, which those with even a basic knowledge of the life of Brandon Teena will know is not the case. Transexuals are targetted because they are damaging to the Mighty Binary fiction and destabilise the worldview of its believers. And society's disdain for masculinity is substantial as well: energetic warriors have no place in the classroom. Frankly its unsurprising that both misandry and misogyny are rife: nobody likes a cliche. But feminism doesn't offer much to combat the root of gender problems in the contemporary Anglosphere since it remains focused on the tiresome, outmoded "Men as oppressor" model. Until we get a decent movement attacking the Mighty Binary rather than the already defunct Patriarchy we aren't going to change much).
I would also continue to point out along with my condemnation of the known bigot Julie Bindel that this is the sort of thing inevitable with a movement that aims to advance women's rights in the stead of aiming to wiping out gender inequality (along with, as far as possible, the entire notion of gender rigidity). Such an ideology is bound to attract misandrists and narrow minded fools. But this is not to be yet another piece of polemic concerning the inadequecies of feminism for confronting the confusing world of re-inforced binary but rearranged bigotry and re-directed bile. No, I type today to talk of transexuality.
The most interesting part of the Atlantic piece was the way that childhood transexuals have somehow come to be used as the ultimate put-down for believers in gender as a cultural construct. This nonsense is hard to even comprehend, so I'll leave the explanation to this extract:
Diamond now spends his time collecting case studies of transsexuals who have a twin, to see how often both twins have transitioned to the opposite sex. To him, these cases are a “confirmation” that “the biggest sex organ is not between the legs but between the ears.” For many gender biologists like Diamond, transgender children now serve the same allegorical purpose that David Reimer once did, but they support the opposite conclusion: they are seen as living proof that “gender identity is influenced by some innate or immutable factors,” writes Melissa Hines, the author of Brain Gender.This is the strange place in which transsexuals have found themselves. For years, they’ve been at the extreme edges of transgressive sexual politics. But now children like Brandon are being used to paint a more conventional picture: before they have much time to be shaped by experience, before they know their sexual orientation, even in defiance of their bodies, children can know their gender, from the firings of neurons deep within their brains. What better rebuke to the Our Bodies, Ourselves era of feminism than the notion that even the body is dispensable, that the hard nugget of difference lies even deeper?
I am afraid that they will have to do much better than that. Gender is a concept which exists to be embodied, with a set of ideals and heroes just like any other of its kind. In addition to there being characteristic behaviour, speech and thought there are certain individuals or characters that epitomise the notions. The most obvious examples for girls are already endlessly commented upon, but copious examples are present for boys as well which receive rather less attention. An example is this sinister character:
His name just about says it all, doesn't it?
The two characteristics of both masculinity and femininity pertinent to our present consideration are that they are both a totality and they are both appealing. By 'a totality' here I mean that they are a complete set of mannerisms, garb and attititudes for the acolyte to follow. Both of these traits are necessary for their continued existence: if they were incomplete then they would not suffice for the construction of a rigid binary. If they were unappealing nobody, let alone an overwhelming majority, would want to attach themselves to either.
So how does this 'attachment' work, exactly? Simply, and early. The behaviour which those such as Dr. Diamond alleges is inherent appears long after differing treatment begins. Studies have shown that nurses will treat children dressed in pink in a different fashion to those dressed in blue. We can see clearly that this treatment predates by a good few years any divering behavioural traits and as the difference in treatment pre-dates the difference in behaviour it would seem that this parental treatment is the origin of the differing character, rather than visa versa. But this is an old and long-ago won argument. What relevence holds this to transexuality?
Children are, from birth, introduced to the two complete and conflicting concepts: feminitity and masculinity. Each defines the other, via contrast. They are conditioned to adopt the one 'suitable' to their genital set. Transexuality is simply the child failing to latch onto the correct one.
This is highly problematic for a binary-reliant society exactly on account of the aforementioned self-contained nature of gender: if they latch onto the wrong concept there is a fully outlined set of traits for them to take up. They are a 'boy' or 'girl' in all respects that a 'real' boy/girl save the set of privates that their culture considers correct. That's it, in all other respects they have all needed. They have a complete system to inform their conduct. But does the fact that they act precisely as the opposite gender and wish to alter the greatest trait that belies their chicanery truly indicate the physically rooted origin of gender? No, it simply demonstrates the extent to which the binary brooks no ambiguity.