ON BEING A WOMAN
Did the title of this chapter make you laugh? It did? DIAF.
A friend of mine was asked to write about being a femme for a queer women’s event. She wasn’t quite sure where to begin. “It’s hard to write about being a girl,” she said, and I knew exactly what she meant. Because even though I am male, was born male, raised male, etc., no one knows more about being a Woman than a Man. I mean, we’ve been both, so we know more than you. Also, no one believes what women say anyway, so listen up, vagina bearers!
For some time, I’ve been trying to write my own poem about what it means to be a woman. But every time I pick up my pen, I’m afraid that I’ll paint myself into a corner, betrayed by words forged from soft vowel sounds and weak, diminutive connotations. Cause women are soft and diminutive. Like, if they aren’t, they are probably transmen, like that awful Cathy Brennan. She’s totally a man, her penis is way bigger than mine. I read that on the Internet, so I know it’s true.
Back to my poem, words so delicate that they crumple under any further introspection. I’m afraid that I may lose a part of myself as I navigate my way through the landmines of other people’s definitions and dogmas. OMG I am totally kidding. I will never lose myself, because I am ALL OVER the Internet. Haven’t you read my blog? It’s here, read it, and donate to my PayPal. If you don’t, you’re transphobic.
Pop culture tells us that a real woman knows how to use her body to get what she wants, wielding the power of attraction, seducing with her animal magnetism. But I ask, how much power is there in being a carrot on a stick that is dangled in front of someone? See how much more convincing that sounds when I say it than when, say, an Actual Feminist says it? Doesn’t it sound like a much deeper insight when an X-Man says it? Be honest. And I can’t help but notice that when men try to flatter us (it’s just us girls here tee hee), they often use words like “enchanting” and “mysterious.” But to me, those words seem like a subconscious attempt by them to place some distance between us. And who wants distance. Come sit on Mama Serano’s lap, guys. So it bothers me when I hear actual women buy into a similar mysticism, as they try to empower us (tee hee #girlslikeus) by proclaiming that we (ROYAL WE, YO) are magical, that we are mother earth with the ability to give birth, bearing life cycles that follow the moon like the tides of the ocean.
Ok, are you confused? Because I am a man. I can never give birth. And boy, does it piss me off that you all think the ability to have a baby is something only for women. Cause it’s not. Men get pregnant too! Didn’t you see Thomas Beattie! He’s super hot too.
But don’t they see the danger in buying into the idea that we (ROYAL WE) are supernatural beings? Do you see how many leaps of logic I am doing here? I need to do this in order to destroy what the category of woman actually means, so as to make sure it includes Men like me. Watch me go, I am brilliant. For if we call ourselves “goddesses,” then there is no need for anyone to treat us like human beings. Here’s where I justify shitting on women, it’s for your own good, bitches.
CONCLUSORY STATEMENT KLAXON!! I believe that this is where second-wave feminism came to a grinding halt: When we got caught up in the myth that women are special because of our biology.
Did you see what I did there? I completely missed the point of radical feminism. When those bitches identified how Men use Women’s female biology to oppress them, that this is at the root of women’s oppression under patriarchy, what all that actually was was women trying to feel “special.”
Oh dumb women. Let me fix that for you.
Because when we take pride in how fundamentally different we (ROYAL WE) are from men (which does not include me, despite my penis), we unknowingly (women always do things unknowingly) engage in a dangerous game of opposites. I mean, all that rape, sexual abuse, torture, sexual exploitation – that’s not dangerous. What’s dangerous is you, women, noticing that you aren’t the ones doing these things. For if men are big, then women must be small. Don’t question it. And if men are strong, then women must be soft. Don’t question it. This is some male brain thinking right here, I mean female brain, tee hee. And it becomes impossible to write a loud and proud poem about what it means to be a woman without either ridiculing men or else pulling the rug out from under ourselves. What? What’s that you say? You say I am ignoring a vast and rich body of women’s literature that does none of these things? Fuck you, transphobe.
And being a woman is contradiction enough without being both a transsexual and a dyke like myself.
BAM! Did you read what I just wrote? Isn’t that an awesome sentence. Diagram it. Do it. You’ll thank me later.
I often feel like the monkey in the middle: On one side of me are older lesbians who insist that I am still a man, as if being born male was some awful disease that has infected my blood and my bones permanently. Yeah, yeah, I know they aren’t actually doing or saying that, but it feels that way, so fuck you.
On the other side of me are younger dykes who are infatuated with trans men and tranny bois, yet secretly confess to friends that they are disturbed by trans women because we act so “effeminate.” I just can’t win with these dykes! JFC, what do I need to do to get laid? Pretend I’m a transman? (tee hee) I wonder how they can be so oblivious to their own arrogance, for anyone who admires trans men but dismisses trans women is simply practicing another form of sexism. Remember how I talked about this in Chapter One? Sexism Against Men is Real Sexism. Never forget that. And Lesbians are the most oppressive people on the Planet because they practice Sexism Against Men. I used to think it was a contradiction that some dykes abhorred me for my masculinity while others hated me for my femininity, until I realized that being a woman means that everyone has a stake in seeing what they want to see in me. See what I did there? I turned around the fact that Women are groomed in our woman-hating culture to be public property and made it about me, something that these evil lesbians do to me, Julia Serano. Forget the fact that this isn’t true, and that these women wouldn’t ever think about me but forth the fact that I keep inserting my mug into their space. Whatever.
My friend said, “It’s hard to write about being a girl.” I believe that’s because the word “girl” doesn’t really have a meaning of its own, as it is always defined in opposition to “boy.”
Yeah, I said it. Girls only exist because boys do, and a girl is simply a defective boy. Sans penis.
So when being butch is to make yourself rock solid, then being femme becomes allowing yourself to be malleable. And if being a man means taking control of your own situation, then being a woman becomes living up to other people’s expectations. I love stereotypes, where would I be without them!!
Well, I refuse to believe in this myth of opposites. Forget about the fact that radical feminism is predicated on the destruction of these social constructs. Let’s just pretend radical feminism is all about supporting these stereotypes, because my shtick won’t work if you actually bothered to read a book, like this one! If we want to shatter the glass ceiling (OR THE COTTON CEILING!!), we must first learn to move beyond biology and give ourselves permission to become anything we want to be. OMG it sound so much better when I say this than when any one of those dreadful second wave feminists said it.
I say to set any standard that all women must meet is to commit an act of misogyny. That includes having an essentialist definition of “woman” that excludes women with penises. I refuse to believe in the myth that all women share a common bond. I need to refuse to believe this because I am a man, and if I recognized that women has common traits that I lack, than everyone would realize … oh….Julia… you’re a guy.
The truth is we are all very different from one another. Look at all these differences! We are all special snowflakes. What’s that you say? Statistics show women and girls are sexually abused by men at alarming rates? That’s cissexism. Stop noticing that.
We each live with a different set of privileges (is this the first time I’ve said this word? Don’t worry, it won’t be the last!) and life experiences. And once we acknowledge this fact, it will become obvious that when we try to place all women into the same box, we unintentionally suffocate ourselves. You’re not buying it? You think that sentence makes no sense? Fuck you, you’re a racist.
Instead of pretending that all women share the same experience, that we are one and the same, let’s make the word “woman” a perpetual agent of change, and let’s especially change it to include chicks with dicks. Instead of repeating history by chaining ourselves to one specific definition or concept, let’s make the word “woman” a celebration of each of our uniqueness. Hooray for #girlslikeus!! Tee hee!