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Old 22 May 2016, 05:14 PM
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Default What Trans Men See That Women Don't

Article from Time. I thought it was interesting, though am not sure at some points what to make of it.

-- I took the title from a brief NPR mention of the article; the article itself, for some reason (possibly having to do with my only allowing limited scripts) is displaying for me without a title. Mods, please correct if necessary.

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experiences of trans men can provide a unique window into how gender functions in American society. In the last few months, I’ve interviewed nearly two dozen trans men and activists about work, relationships and family. Over and over again, men who were raised and socialized as female described all the ways they were treated differently as soon as the world perceived them as male. They gained professional respect, but lost intimacy. They exuded authority, but caused fear. From courtrooms to playgrounds to prisons to train stations, at work and at home, with friends and alone, trans men reiterated how fundamentally different it is to experience the world as a man.
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Old 22 May 2016, 11:42 PM
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I think the big takeaway is that claiming sexism is over is a lie, and that anyone suggesting institutional sexism is a myth is clearly someone either willfully ignorant to it or blatantly trying to downplay their own roles in it.

This isn't even the first piece I've seen where transmen have talked about how they've suddenly been treated better professionally and for the most part personally as well (so long as nobody knew they were transgendered.) This is definitely one of the more thorough reports I've seen though.
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Old 22 May 2016, 11:54 PM
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Transwomen have been pointing the opposite out for a long time.

Not to imply that we shouldn't be paying attention to what transmen have to say.
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Old 23 May 2016, 12:43 AM
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Most of these things are what women have been pointing out for...a long time, too

And while it may be tempting to say that this is uniquely the experience of people who have been both women and men, it's important to remember that it isn't. When they were being perceived as women, I presume most or all still identified as male, and we don't know what their gender presentation was before transitioning. I think it's problematic to set this up the way the author has.

As just one example of what I mean, if a straight person is consistently perceived as gay or lesbian, would anyone legitilmately suppose that that person knows what it's like to be queer in America? Would it be reasonable to say that they see things that queer people don't?
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Old 23 May 2016, 01:16 AM
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I know it's not really my place to say but that's what I wanted to say so thanks, erwins.

I guess "...that women are usually less likely to see" doesn't make a good headline but it's not as if men - trans or otherwise - live in a world that somehow magically cloaked in secrecy. I know it's not the intention but the title seems to be (yet again) discounting women's experience as if to say, "Well, you have to live on the other side to really know but you haven't. So there." I don't think so.
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Old 23 May 2016, 01:24 AM
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My impression was that it's not just an experience that women are making up. In this article, they noted that the behavior of men completely changed when it was just men around, something that in this case the transmen were more aware of by the nature of being treated as "one of the boys." A lot of the more aggressive comments on women by male co-workers, for example, were kept out of their ear shot and more easily masked in front of people they perceived as female. It's a lot easier to gaslight women into believing the discrimination is all in their heads when they'll never find out. It's harder to argue its just women being emotional when transmen can literally point to how their experience changed when they changed their gender presentation as well.

I'm definitely aware of the opposite experiences of transwomen from my exposure to a great deal of them being ardent feminists, but this piece was largely focused on transmen so I kept my comments largely to that side of the gender discussion.
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Old 23 May 2016, 01:30 AM
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Just to be clear about my 1.5 cents: I totally agree the viewpoint is welcome and probably unique in many ways. It's only the title and its ilk that I disagree with.
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Old 23 May 2016, 02:02 AM
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It is a unique perspective, just not in the way it was set up.

And I am well aware, in a few ways, of the kinds of things that are said when men think they are only among (like-minded) men. So no, it is not information that only a transman has access to.
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Old 23 May 2016, 06:09 PM
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I'm not sure how to express this and I do agree that it's an interesting and unique perspective but I think what bothers me a bit is the attitude I see among some, especially in the media, that when a man says something it's worth listening to where when it's a woman speaking it gets dismissed even when the message is the same. So now that we have men who can tell us something, now we are prepared to hear it. Somewhat related is the way Caitlyn Jenner is fawned over as if finally, at last we have a worthy spokesperson for women. What was wrong with every woman who was making the same points before Caitlyn Jenner happened along?

Last edited by Sue; 23 May 2016 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 23 May 2016, 07:10 PM
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Since this is what women and trans women have been saying for years, is this the first case of trans-mansplaining?
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Old 23 May 2016, 07:18 PM
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Yes, Sue, I think that's part of what was bothering me about it. (I also wonder about testosterone changing the amount of time one wants to spend shopping. There's so much variation among cis women and among cis men about this -- as well as variation in some cases depending on what's being shopped for -- that the claims in the article seem to me to, at the least, call for further investigation.)

I do think that it's useful for some people to have things pointed out from this perspective: both in that it may be useful for the people experiencing the shift to be able to talk about it, and in that it makes it difficult for those trying to argue that sexism has disappeared to claim that different treatment is due to different individuals, rather than being due to the gender those individuals are perceived as. And, to the extent that the claim is that some men talk about women around trans men in a way they don't talk around women, there's probably something to that; though I don't know why the reports of trans men about this should be more reliable than the reports of cis men who don't like it. I will say that, as a cis women, I've heard conversations about men among women who believed in traditional sex roles which I think would startle many men. If you want genuine respect, men: hang around with feminist women. The old-fashioned traditional-roles women, at least the ones I heard, often have very little respect for men.
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