May. 27th, 2014

talkswithwind: (cm-saywhat)
I've been reading some of it. Right now it's a lot of retweets, but the content is still quite striking.

I'm coming at it from a decidedly privileged point of view, as I've lived both sides of the gender coin and have benefited-from/been-subjected-to the assumptions and trials of both those sides. When it comes to women's lived experience I have a hard time speaking up because I haven't done it all my life. If I speak up am I denying the experience of someone more worthy? It's qualms like that which have kept me quiet about difficulties I've faced in adjusting to a different set of gendered assumptions.

Some of my problems absolutely stem from me only running into these things late in life and not from birth or sexual maturity. That's part of the trans experience after all, and some people are quite sensitive when I do talk about that kind of thing. I've never been sexually harassed that I can remember, which makes me a minority (or oblivious, which likely contributes).

But I have been perceived as female for long enough that I do share certain common experiences:
  • Street harassment.
    • Smile, baby.
    • Whistles.
    • When smiling: compliments on the smile.
  • Dealing with cold approaches. Also known as getting hit on.
  • Learning the hard way which groups of men are more threatening than others.
  • Getting side-eye at my prospective local comic store. The guy warmed up after he realized I actually was into this stuff. And is now gone.
  • Getting bright-eyed eagerness in the men talking to me once they realize I actually know this nerdy-linux-stuff thing.
And then there are the unshared experiences that are definitely inherited from being raised male:
  • The assumption that I can fuck anyone up who tries to fuck with me. Which means I'm not appropriately afraid to walk certain places alone.
  • Asking for things as the first step to getting what I want. Worked great so far, eventually I'll get labeled 'bitch' because of it.
  • The big fear for leaving a drink untended is germs from unauthorized sippers. At some point the GHB fear will penetrate.
There are more.

Reading this hashtag is a reminder of all the things I didn't get taught at my mother's knee and learned after the fact (if I even learned it at all).

Reading this hashtag is a reminder of what happens to anyone who is ever perceived as female.

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