Wearing the most comfortable sandals ever – more stereotypes about men and women

Trans people online are quick to assure us that being transgender has nothing to do with stereotypes, with clothes or hairstyles.

it-is-not-about-gender-roles
it is not a case of gender roles causing transition
its-not-about-stereotypes-gosh
It’s not about fitting gender stereotypes and transitioning because of that!
nothing-to-do-with-feminine-or-masculine
Nobody transitions so that they can dress a certain way

So being transgender is not anything to do with stereotypes about clothes and hairstyles, and nobody thinks they are transgender or transition because of hairstyles and clothes.

Except for when putting on a dress and some makeup is a way of diagnosing someone with a “female brain”:

try-dressing-up-for-a-test-run
If you feel right, seek out a gender therapist for confirmation

And except when you feel like the most exciting part of transitioning to a woman is all the shoes you can now wear!

buying-all-the-shoes
the thought of buying all the shoes I always wanted makes me feel through the roof

And except when going clothes shopping is the most exciting part of transition!

shopping for clothes.PNG
shopping for clothes

Or when you’re finally able to get the haircut you want:

haircut

Or, if you’re transitioning from female to male, having clothing with pockets and comfortable sandals!

pockets
wearing the most comfortable sandals

It is well known that women can’t ever wear clothing with pockets, or comfortable sandals, so it’s good people can undergo medical treatments and surgeries so that they can wear these things. Wait, what?

 

 

 

“We tried to make this kid be a boy”

In an article about a child who wants to be a boy, the parents talk about how the child “began taking on names commonly used for boys during playtime and displayed ‘male role modeling’.” They talk about how the child was happy when allowed to wear “boy clothes”. They talk about taking their child to a pediatrician and then to a psychologist.

Their pediatrician recommended visiting with a child psychologist who, after a three-hour evaluation, determined the child was gender variant. The psychologist explained it could be a phase or the child could later affirm a male identity — either way, she recommended that Ann support him by letting him play and dress as he wanted.

Then two years later:

When Ben turned 7, the child psychologist formally determined Ben was transgender.

This is eyebrow-raising (or should be), because according to research, most children who are “gender dysphoric” go on to become regular adults satisfied with their biological sex. From the WPATH  (World Professional Association for Transgender Health) guidelines: (note: link goes to a pdf file)

most cases of childhood gender dsyphoria do not persist into adulthood

and,

Gender variance in childhood is normal. Risks of a GI-Childhood diagnosis include: Stigmatizing children with a diagnostic label when there is no disorder; diagnosis can become iatrogenic, instilling a sense in the child that “there is something wrong with me”; and a poor predictive value – 80% of children diagnosed with GID do not continue to have GID of adolescence or adulthood.

4 out of 5 children who experience gender identity disorder do not persist. They grow up to become well-functioning adults. Often, they grow up to be gay or lesbian. Furthermore, as the WPATH document points out, giving children a diagnostic label can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What is even more worrying is that so often these diagnoses are given to children that have been heavily policed by their parents regarding how they are allowed to express themselves. This story of a conservatively religious parent is a good example:

For Shappley and her family, it all began with a hair bow.

“I want a bow like Daisy,” her then-three-year-old son Joseph Paul begged of her. Shappley knew the big red bow, ponytails and princess dresses were things almost every little girl wished for. However, these weren’t for a daughter — Shappley reminded herself these were the requests of her son.

So a child with a penis asks for a hair bow. Instead of just letting the child wear a hair bow and not making a huge deal out of it, the parents tell him he can’t have them because they are for girls. They make him do “boy stuff”:

His desire to dress in little girl’s clothes is a secret Shappley has kept from the outside world since Joseph was just a toddler. As an infant, she put him in blue clothes. As a toddler, she made him do what shes says is ‘typical boy stuff,’ like fishing, playing football with his siblings and throwing little boy’s birthday parties.

“We tried to make this kid be a boy,” said Shappley. Still, Joseph kept seeking out what the girls had and, by the age of three, he was telling everyone he was a girl.

Of course the kid is telling people he’s a girl! You’ve been telling him that the thing he wants, that his female peers have, are only for girls. Why wouldn’t he try to get access to the pretty bows by saying he’s a girl? Three year old children do typically not have a good understanding of what it means to be a boy or a girl, most commonly understanding the terms by using stereotypes.

Shappley sought out more help, turning to pastors and her faith. Her hope was that her young boy would act like one.

The mother is hoping her child will “act like a boy”. What do  boys act like? Why does this child have to act in a certain way?

“So Christians are not gay, OK, that’s the mindset that I had.”

Having a gay child would of course be difficult for a person belonging to a religion in which being gay is seen as wrong. And children who strongly identify with the opposite sex in childhood do often grow into homosexual adults. This mother will now have a straight daughter.

Parents and children like these are now wildly popular in the news, there’s hardly a week or even a day without a story like this, a documentary, a reality show. How easy will it be for these children to change their minds, as 4 out of 5 of them will, statistically? How easy is it to change your mind about being the opposite sex when your parents have campaigned for your right to use the opposite bathroom and changing room at school? When your parents have spent money to sue the school district? When your entire family makes money and is famous from your transness?

 

“Feeling pretty and delicate, that is clearly female behavioral traits, right?”

A recurring theme on this blog is the relationship between transgender identity and gender roles and stereotypes. We have seen over and over and over again that when trans people talk about how they experience being transgender, they rely heavily, if not exclusively, on gender stereotypes. From wanting to wear specific clothes as toddlers to wanting specific hair cuts as teens, to wanting specific fashion choices as an adult, all kids of superficial things are taken as evidence of some innate identity.

However, since most people agree that gender roles are not actually progressive or good, but actually restrictive and bad, there is also a rush to assure people that being transgender does not actually have anything to do with gender roles or stereotypes:

gender identity doesnt know about gender roles
“Gender identity doesn’t know about gender roles”

Except for when these same stereotypes and roles are used as a direct reason for transitioning:

feeling pretty and delicate
“Feeling pretty and delicate”

But when someone explicitly asks about the connection between stereotypes and transitioning, they are quickly told that the two are never connected:

nothing to do with feminine or masculine
“Nobody transitions so that they can dress a certain way”

So nobody transitions so that they can dress a certain way, except this person, who wants to wear short shorts and knee-high boots, but cannot because they are for girls:

i wanna wear knee high boots
“I wanna wear knee high boots so bad”

Or this person, who wishes to “rock this or that outfit”.

I wish i could rock that outfit
“I wish I too could try to rock this or that outfit”

Or this person, who upon transitioning from male to female looks forward to never having to wear a tie again:

never having to wear a tie
“I am looking forward to never having to wear a tie again”

Or this person, who is looking forward to buying clothes from any store:

buying clothes in any store
“being able to buy clothes in pretty much any store”

Funny how many examples there are of this thing that supposedly doesn’t happen, isn’t it?

“Have you ever identified more with female characters than male ones?”

It’s time for yet another post full of examples of how trans people online use stereotypes as the basis of deciding to be trans. It’s interesting to see that even though proponents of gender identity publicly stress that gender identity has nothing to do with gender stereotypes, when trans people talk among themselves online, their narratives are usually absolutely steeped with the most egregious stereotypes. There is a huge mismatch between the official gender identity doctrine and what trans people tell themselves about their gender identities. Let’s have a look.

First, a person who, upon transitioning to female, finds themselves fitting “nice and snug in a submissive role”.

submissive
“nice and snug in a submissive role”

Then there is this post, entitled What moments make you look back and think ‘How the hell didn’t I realise I’m trans?,  (archive link) which starts out like this:

princess.PNG
loving the princess role

Enjoying to play a female role must mean you’re transgender, boys can’t just like playing female characters!

hating stereotypes
hating gender stereotypes

If you hate stereotypes, you’re trans. Regular ol’ guys can’t hate stereotypes! They can’t enjoy playing with female relatives either.

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loving theater

Loving theater must mean you’re actually a girl.

girl music
“A girl’ collection”

Likewise, certain types of music is only allowed for girls to like.

Then there is a post entitled If I think about being a girl am I transgender? (archive link), in which a poster wants to know if thinking about being a girl means one is a girl. One commenter helpfully posts a list of “signs” of being trans:

feminist.PNG
“were you a really big feminist?”

Signs of transness includes a desire to wear women’s clothing and being a feminist.

What does being a man mean to you? What do you like about being a man? asks a poster in r/ftm (archive link)

act like a woman
“the outside matches the inside”

Note first that this commenter doesn’t want to “act like a woman”. it is not explained what acting what a woman is, but it implies that there is some way that women acts, and that in order to avoid acting this way, you need to become a man. Choosing to not act this way is apparently not an option.

Finally, pay attention to the statement in this screenshot that the outside should “match” the inside. So there are apparently certain “insides” (personalities, presumably), that only match certain bodies. This is not a particularly progressive idea; the thought that only men or only women can have certain personality types is usually regarded as old-fashioned and regressive. But when trans people say it, nobody dares disagree apparently.

Like to wear comfortable clothes? Dislike sexism? Change your sex!

A 19 year old woman posts to reddit’s community “asktransgender”:

So I’m 19 right now and identify as female. Ever since I was younger I’ve always leaned towards the masculine side. I’ve always worn boys clothes, for as long as I can remember. When I was maybe 10/11, I would wear boxers and I felt very comfortable in them. When I reached 7th or 8th grade, I tried to start wearing female clothes. I never felt comfortable in girls underwear or shirts (I do usually wear girls jeans). When I was in 5th grade (elementary school) or maybe a little younger, I tried pushing for my parents to start calling me Joey after one of my favorite tv characters.

Fast forward a few years and I’ve recently come out as gay. I always wear boys clothes. I got a haircut and feel ten times more comfortable with it. She/her pronouns sort of make me uncomfortable, but I get embarrassed when people say he/him infront of my friends. I really lean towards the name Nick. I’ve always been big into video games and I’ll always make a male character, etc.

Recently I’ve been introduced to the Trans community and I’ve been watching a lot of videos on transitions so now I’m sort of confused with everything.

Some replies:

your experience is typical
“Your experience sounds fairly typical of trans people”

And:

textbook trans
“You’re textbook trans”

Preferring comfortable clothes and short hair means you should change your sex.

Another poster asks “am I actually a man?“:

I was assigned female at birth. However, I have never been comfortable living as a woman. Even as a young child, like in kindergarten, I hated wearing dresses and would throw tantrums if forced to. Eventually my parents stopped. My first boyfriend called me “secret Asian man” in fact because I have so many masculine traits– I am good at science and math, I like driving, I like fixing things, I like video games and am extremely good at them (better than most men), I play a very masculine instrument, etc, etc.

If you didn’t see me or know my name but were just told about me and my interests, you would think I was a man. I also HATE how being a woman is so limiting. I have been subjected to sexist discrimination, harassment, assault, the lot of it. I am fucking sick to death of it and I KNOW if I had been assigned male at birth, I would never have experienced it. I just lost a very good job because my boss wanted to sleep with me and I rebuffed him, which caused him to retaliate against me and when I complained, I was fired. I HATE living in this female body and I want a male one. I am just scared of coming out, honestly. Scared of what my family and friends will say. I feel like I would have to move to another city to truly be able to start over.

Hating dresses, being good at science, and playing a “very masculine instrument”  – as if no women can do these things.

Top rated reply:

not cis
“trans with doubts doesn’t equal cis”

The poster further explains that part of what makes her dislike “being a woman” is the harassment she received for having unshaven legs:

leg hair

When disliking harassment and preferring certain styles of hair and clothing is making people “question their gender” to the extent that they ask other people for advice about it, that says a lot about the narrow gender roles people are feeling confined by. Furthermore, it seems to be a wide consensus in the online trans communities that the act of questioning your gender itself means that you are trans. This sentiment is very pervasive.

Transcript from 00.30: “so first off, if you guys questioned it, um, you probably are transgender”

few and far between
Enter a caption

According to the poster in the screenshot above, if you’re questioning that very likely means you are trans.

cis people don't question
“cis people don’t usually question their gender”

On the webpage of a “gender therapist”, the following advice is offered:

The first thing I want to talk about is the question of “How do I know I’m transgender?” being very, very big in and of itself and breaking it down in bits and pieces.

Let’s talk about how, if someone is even asking themselves that question it probably means, at the very least, they are feeling uncomfortable with their current gender role. So more than likely, the answer to that question (“Am I transgender?”) is “yes.”

If people are even asking the question, it means that more than likely they are transgender, according to this gender therapist.

We have seen this in previous posts here as well.

So we have people growing up steeped in narrow gender roles, questioning their gender, and being told that the very act of questioning means they are transgender. Combine that with medical transition many places being trivially easy to obtain, and you have a situation where people are doing irreversible changes to their bodies on very flimsy grounds.

questioning to full time in 9 montsh
“questioning to fulltime in 9 months”
fast
“from questioning in may to hrt in september”
super fast
“why wait?”
month and a half
“got my prescription within a month and a half”
medium fast
“questioning in June, Spiro and E in january”

Sexist gender roles + confused young people + the notion that questioning means you are trans + easy access to hormones = a rush of people modifying their bodies in rather extreme ways in order to fit in.

I didn’t like doing all the stereotypical girl things

A young teenager tells the internet “how I knew I was trans”:

Partial transcript:

basically…it has to do with my coming out story…and…well…ever since I was a little kid I knew there was something different about me and I didn’t like doing all the stereotypical girl things that all my friends liked to do at the time. I…as soon as I was able to dress myself I…I started dressing from the guys department

(…)

my mom put me in ballet and I decided no I don’t wanna go to ballet, I’m gonna play in the mud and so yeah. I did sports as a little kid and I was really into that kind of stuff and I always thought that I’m eh…I’m different

(…)

I dressed like a guy every single day, I wore guy clothes, guy shoes, I did guy things, hung out with guys, um, everything that a little boy would do. My mom started getting mad, she  told me I need to dress like a little girl and act like one too. And I was like “no mom I don’t like doing that and I never wore dresses and  never wore a skirt, never wore heels. Graduation was a…graduation was horrible, I mean…dress shopping, it didn’t feel right!

(…)

halfway through sophomore year I was watching this video on YouTube of a boy and his transition, and I was like oh my god, this makes sense now

It’s a familiar story in many ways. A female child who does not like to do the things that society tells little girls that they should like.  Parents who, as the kid grows older, to an increasing degree try to force the kid into this role they do not want. And finally, discovering YouTube and the many “transition videos” on it. Bingeing on these videos for a couple of weeks, and suddenly wanting to change their sex.  These kids end up medical patients for the rest of their lives. They want to start taking testosterone. Ten, twenty years ago, finding yourself as a teen meant getting a tattoo of a Chinese character, maybe some piercings. For these kids, it means starting medical treatments that can make them sterile. After five years on testosterone, the cancer risk explodes and a complete hysterectomy is required. Quite the price to pay for wanting to escape the restrictive feminine gender role.

Several commenters have similar experiences to the young person in the video:

I tried to force myself to wear dresses
“I’ve always tried to force myself to be ‘girly'”

Where is feminism for these young women? Where are the role models that can show them how to be women without being “girly”?

A similar comment on a different video:

binge watched videos for a week and now im trans wheeee
“I binge watched videos for a week, and I just knew”

Again and again, we see this tale. Young women who dislike performing femininity discovering transition videos, and becoming transgender.

A slightly different story, told by Aydian Ethan Dowling, is seen in the video below. As a young girl, Dowling was not gender policed as heavily as many other aspiring transitioners.

Partial transcript, from around 8:15:

I didn’t know what transgender was. I didn’t know you could live that. Maybe if I knew that when I was younger, maybe I would have, um you know. Maybe I would have been more vocal about wanting to do that [transitioning], or maybe I would have known earlier that I wanted to do that. But I didn’t know I was transgender. I didn’t! I had no idea. Ah. Maybe if I lived in a house where…you know, I was being the girl, I was made to do dishes, or, or, clean, or cook, or you know, do my nails, or what, you know. I didn’t have those pressures of doing that.

So apparently, according to Aydian Dowling, if a girl is not trans, she’d be just fine with being made to do dishes, cook, and do her nails. And presumably, if Dowling had been made to do those things, then “maybe I would have known earlier”, to quote the video.

More and more young women are watching these videos on YouTube. Not just watching them, binge-watching them, and in a very short amount of time they decide that they are transgender. These are often troubled young women, trying to fit in in a society where the genders are becoming more and more separated by stereotypes. Many of them are having a difficult time coming to terms with themselves, with their bodies, with their sexuality. But the implications of the stories told in these videos is often sexist. These young women need other stories, other voices.

 

“It’s like there’s this whole part of me designed to enable me to dress myself well”

In this post we are going to look at some more examples of people wanting to transition to live as the opposite sex, whose desires seem to be rooted in sexist and old-fashioned stereotypes.

First out is this person, who loves “checking out stylish clothes”, and cries at movies. This must mean they are a woman, because only women do such things.

stereotype1

In another comment, the same person states that the reason for wanting a female body is that “if I actually had a female body, I could just relax and be myself”, which seems to involve crying and looking at men’s bodies. This is grossly sexist and homophobic. Why does nobody tell this poster that you don’t need a female body to cry and check out men?

stereotype2

This poster has been “feeling like a woman” for a month, which apparently has a lot to do with loving “pink frilly things and soft furry blankets”:

stereotype3

Do memories make more sense?” asks this post, wherein people share memories from their childhood that “should have been a cue” about their gender. The post gets a lot of comments,

Trying on your mother’s heels, trying on your sister’s clothes, loving girl’s clothes, hating sports :

stereotype4

Note the sexism in the following exchange. Surely boys aren’t capable of enjoying a book about a girl?

stereotype5

Wanting to be a princess:

stereotype6

Dressing up as a female character from a fairy tale:

stereotype7

Having female friends, having a particular taste in books and tv shows:

sterotypes8

This poster worries that taking estrogen will lead to a decreased juggling ability. A commenter explains that taking female hormones has had side effects like decreased spatial processing, and a need to do things “gently and gracefully”. Oh, and being the best most likely won’t be as important to you anymore. Cause, you know, women are just naturally less ambitious.

sterotypes9

Fairly sure I’m MTF, need advice & help avoiding pitfalls, is the title of a long post, relevant features in bold:

I’ve had low-level doubts my entire life, which were much more significant starting in my teenage years, as I found I really preferred to think of sexuality as a woman. I assumed it was just a fetish and reassured myself out of it, but it was a worry for many years. (…)

Thinking of sexuality as a woman? What does this mean?

I’ve always been much, much closer with girls than with boys, with only one exception. I had one close childhood friend who was male, and in retrospect, I was usually the feminine one in the relationship. I remember giving him massages, actually, although I didn’t think anything of it at the time (I’d learned from my aunt). When the kids in my neighborhood got together and had ‘boy vs girl’ wars, I always found myself defecting back and forth, but ultimately ending up on the girls’ side.

I was raised more-or-less exclusively by my mother. My parents are together, but my father is very ineffectual.

I have, ever since I was very little, felt strong affection and empathy, but had a great deal of trouble allowing myself to express them. I realized this as a conscious problem around age 15, and earlier last year, at age 20, I managed to take down those emotional walls for one week. Being able to do so was, in my mind, the biggest accomplishment of the year.

Having female friends and  feeling empathy. Is this not something boys can do and have?

I have very strong internal gender roles. One set of things guys do, one set of things girls do. I have no doubt at least part of my feeling is that I really want to do things in the latter category.

I have a bit of scarring downstairs, which I assume is from being circumcised, but as a young child I was absolutely convinced that I’d had girl parts and they’d been sewn up. I didn’t really think anything of it, mind you, but the thought stayed for many years.

I take on some feminine mannerisms naturally. My first day of high school, after being homeschooled for some years, I found myself clutching my books to my chest with my arms around them. After a week of this, my mom pointed out that it was a very feminine gesture, which I honestly didn’t know, and I trained myself not to. Similarly, I’ve always naturally crossed my legs sitting down, which I didn’t know was a feminine pose until literally this last week. In fact, as I type this, I’m sitting in bed legs crossed, right over left.

Having “female mannerisms”.

I have not recognizably felt dysphoria towards my body. I don’t have a particularly good body image, though. I’m somewhat overweight, and not at all masculine (I strongly suspect naturally low testosterone), and have often worried about being ‘masculine enough’ in appearance.

Now, what got me seriously questioning was recent. About a year ago, a girl I’d known online and been rather fond of turned out to be MTF trans, a fact that surprised me. I’d always had the (in retrospect rather bigoted) view that you could always “tell”, and I was amazed that she could be…well, cute. Then more recently, someone else in the same community came out as trans, and I was really fascinated with the idea. I started reading through all their posts, trying to learn anything I could about it. One evening, the first girl mentioned that she’d found a great chat of TG folks, and as I was bored and curious, I went and lurked there. Once she left, I came out and talked to everyone, and after six hours of chatting with them they agreed I was probably MTF. I remember sort of exaggerating some things that first night – I had a conclusion I wanted them to get to, and I can’t tell even in retrospect if that was just because it’s a kink for me too.

I do definitely have masculine feelings sometimes. I feel a rush of conquest when I hike a long distance – I don’t have a car, so I have to walk to a fairly distant grocery store and bring food back, and I have the mental sensation of hunting as I do it. Similarly, I’m generally direct and rational, and until recently had very little patience for personal drama. I do mentally use the term ‘man’ to describe myself sometimes, even when I feel feminine, perhaps just out of habit.

(…)

One of the people in the channel ended up sending me a padded bra, which arrived five days ago. I more or less have not taken it off since – I grin at myself in the mirror wearing it, I wake up in a good mood because it’s on. I love wearing a shirt over it and seeing and feeling how it fills it out, and I feel almost naked without it now. I’d realllllllly like to get a full outfit, judging by how this has felt.

I find my urges fade for a brief time post-orgasm: I feel awkward in the bra and take it off for a while, my emotions fade for a bit, and I generally feel like ‘old me’. This worries me. It lasts for around an hour.

Even more ridiculous stereotypes about what it means to be a man or a woman (personal drama? Hunting? Being direct and rational?). And of course, the oft-seen sexual component, where the “urges” to be a woman goes away after masturbation.