Sunday, June 7, 2015

I am woman

Women are apologizing to men (as we have been conditioned to do) for having the nerve to refer to our sex organs by their proper name. Some biological women don't want to exclude or discriminate against transgender men who want the title of "woman," but lack the traditional physical makings of a woman. Okay, so let me get this straight. Women don't want to offend the platinum elite members of womanhood: those who've benefited from male privilege while wanting to fulfill their need to become female, so we're going to let men define what it means to be a woman? All in the name of progressiveness? I don't think so. 

Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn Jenner, was a card carrying beneficiary of
white male privilege his entire life. He told Diane Sawyer that the thing he looked forward to the most about being a woman was the chance to wear nail polish. This stereotypical facade of femininity is alluring, understandably, just like it's alluring to little girls playing dress up. When we're young, we have no inkling of the hard road ahead. We don't know that being a woman entails sexual assault, discrimination, discomfort, and double standards. Reality, we soon discover, is way different than the fairy tale Disney feeds us. 

Elinor Burkett wrote an illuminating article for The New York Times about Caitlyn Jenner's new identity as a woman and her misconceptions of what it means to be a woman. The Vanity Fair photos, from what I saw, were stunning, but they were photos of a woman who has not had to fight for women's rights. Caitlyn Jenner also told Diane Sawyer that "My brain is much more female than it is male." That would have been a bold statement for a neuroscientist to make, let alone an Olympic athlete. It seems, judging by this quote, that Jenner is perfectly happy resting in her naive bubble, a bubble  insulated by a lifetime of male privilege. If Caitlyn Jenner were truly clued into the workings of a female brain, she would know some of the activity which women's brains share based on our collective experiences.  Women's brains fear walking home alone at night, being followed, being date raped, the nausea of street harassment, the anxiety of waiting for your next period with the calendar on your lap.

If we're not careful about allowing others to define womanhood, we risk having our struggles erased, our fears trivialized, and being reduced to our body parts, our sexy negligees, and our nail polish. 

Please, let's not let that happen. 

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