i am feeling vulnerable from all of the hate mail i have been receiving and determined to move from a place inspired by it to make something salvageable out of all of this hurt -- so i am just going to put this out there.
growing up it was the men who harassed me who first acknowledged my difference. from literally the age of 4 i remember being called a girl and a sissy which eventually became faggot as i grew up and now tranny. what has always struck me is how cis men have been so much more able (and willing in their own perverse and vitriolic ways) to acknowledge my difference and the ways in which i am failing to be a "man" much more than cis woman have. cis women continued to insist that i was "just a man," just a little different: "he just loves his sister." for cis men my femininity was regarded as something that disqualified me from manhood, but for cis women my femininity was observed as something less salient than my manhood (an addition to it, if you will).
these days when cis men harass me there is a sense of recognition and acknowledgement: i am that which they had to destroy in themselves and so therefore i must be destroyed otherwise i remind them another world is possible. when cis women harass me there's a sense of confusion: "what even is that, it must be a man!"
so what i am trying to get at is we have this weird situation where deeply misogynist men are able to acknowledge my difference in ways that progressive cis feminists still cannot. there is a disaggregation of what masculinity/manhood is, a complexity afforded to it, a recognition of internal hierarchy and lateral violence -- and none of this makes it to cis feminism's insistence on dismissing and homogenizing this and me all as "man" on the basis of my genitalia.
cis feminism refuses to acknowledge, validate, and center forms of patriarchal violence that run contrary to the gender binary of cis man against cis woman. but what my experiences as a gender non-conforming person have shown me is that cis men can be deeply misogynist and violent to each other, to men who they perceive as feminine, and to trans and gender non-conforming people. femininity is what is under attack here, not necessarily "womanhood." the forms of patriarchal violence that are enacted are not just about genitalia, they're about femininity more generally (speech, dress, gestures, interests, etc).
the question remains: why are misogynist men often able to recognize (often through economies of violence) forms of femininity that are not linked to womanhood whereas so many cis women refuse to? i often find that many cis men -- and especially queer cis men -- understand what i go through much better than cis women because of this fact.
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