Privileged entitlement & judging

Posted: January 13, 2011 in Bodies, Damned binaries, Gender, Sexism
Tags: , , , , , ,

The idea of (cis) male entitlement to have (perceived) female bodies on display for them is a concept well-established. It’s a form of entitlement that leads to a lot of sexual harassment and assault, and is damaging for those read as female as their appearance and choices are policed by assholes who really believe that shit, who really believe the people they read as female have an obligation to present themselves in a way appealing to them.

There’re many forms of this entitlement, in which a privileged group feels entitled to police the appearance of marginalised groups because the marginalised groups ‘should’ be presenting themselves for the privileged ones. It happens along any line of oppression when the difference is visible in some way; race, ability, size… and gender.

Cissexist (cis) people often seem to think that non-cis people’s genders and expression of such are there to be judged by them. They set themselves up as the standard for their gender, and then think that every time a non-cis person so much as moves, they’re presenting their gender for inspection. These expectations for the behaviour and presentation of non-cis people are almost always founded on really narrow, binary, binarist gender roles – because what’s cissexism without an unhealthy dose of sexism?- and expectations. Because of course, every cis woman wears makeup and shaves and has long hair. Is the sarcasm-detector overloading yet?

And every little thing becomes a gendered performance – an idea that implies artifice. An idea that implies a false facade of gender over the ‘reality’ – which is always, in the eyes of cissexists, the person’s assigned sex, thus degendering non-cis people even further. The way the person does anything becomes gendered. No thought to ‘x sits like that because x finds it comfortable’, no, it’s got to be ‘x sits like that because x is trying to be a y, and so x must sit like the cis y people.’ The person becomes reduced to their ‘attempts’ to ‘be’ their true gender, despite the fact that they are already their true gender. And then the cissexists look at the person and say, no, you’re DOIN IT RONG. No matter what, UR DOIN IT RONG and the person’s body, appearance, choices become topics of conversation, to be ripped apart by all and sundry.

That’s just for binary people. For non-binary folks, every little action is used to prove that we’re actually binary – because everything is gendered one way or another, in our highly binary society. And they expect us to provide them with a perfect blend of gendered traits, or they say, no, you’re actually binary and you’re in denial, LOOK, you did THIS, that’s so BINARY. Then once they’ve misgendered us, they’ll attack us like they attack binary folks, by saying we don’t measure up.

Well, you know what, cissexists? We don’t exist to be looked at and judged by anyone, let alone you. We exist to live our own lives, to make our own purpose, to do our own thing. To look our own way. You are not the supreme authority on our genders/non-genders, and when we appear a certain way, we’re mostly doing it because we want to. Not because we want your approval. Not because we want your attention.

And while you’re at it, if you feel entitled to police, to judge anyone’s appearance because of your own privileged sense of entitlement – JUST STOP. You’re being an insensitive, bigoted, kyriarchal shitbomb. It doesn’t matter what oppression/s your sense of that entitlement stems from – it’s all unacceptable. We’re all human beings, with selfhood and a right to our own personal autonomy. And remember – if you’re judging others, they will judge you. If you tell me I’m not myself, I’ll tell you that you’re an insensitive, bigoted, kyriarchal shitbomb. And I’ll have a lot more grounds for that judgement.

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Comments
  1. The Nerd says:

    So true. I find my friends doing this to me. I find myself doing this to me. The internalized binaricentrism runs deep, and wish I could stop my thoughts from oppressing me. “You can’t do that, they’ll think you’re pretending to be a man. You can’t say that, they’ll think you’re looking for attention. You can’t maintain this farce of being nonbinary; you’ll slip up and they’ll be there to watch you fall.” It doesn’t stop. It never stops. I think I need to start screaming at my thoughts to leave me alone. Calling my internalized binaricentrism out as an insensitive, bigoted, kyriarchal shitbomb seems a good way to begin.

    • JKBC says:

      It’s so hard to avoid. I know the feeling – it’s awful. I’m sorry you’re experiencing this, both from other people and from those parts of your own mind that have suffered the worst from the kyriarchy. This is what happens in a deeply binarist, binaricentrist (that’s an excellent word) culture, and it’s wrong, wrong, wrong, since the only proof of gender is a person’s own self-knowledge. Generally I try to either not think about it or force the words, ‘FUCK OFF, KYRIARCHY,’ on top of my thoughts whenever I find myself policing my self-expression for gender. It’s still hard though.

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