Lately I’ve seen TWERFs who in the face of how sex is a social construct are scrambling for some new anti-trans woman rhetoric. The new stance seems to be womanhood as defined by class violence. This new attempt to invalidate our womanhood will also fail as we are women, and face the violence in this word as women.
That said let’s start with my girlhood shall we?
When I was little girl I would be a girl in games of imagination and due to this it quickly became apparent that being a girl meant other. For example even if I was playing as someone capable like a female warrior I was still considered weak compared to the other people playing.
I easily connected with my female cousins while feeling distant and awkward around my male cousins. In retrospect it was also blatantly obvious that I was infantalized to a much larger extent than anyone else in my family. This is something that has continued into my adult life but I’ll touch more on that later.
Also during this time my family began to reinforce cissexist notions by shaming me for my love of barbies. Now before you jump the gun, I’m not a woman because I liked barbies. I also really liked batman action figures, and dinosaurs. Toys don’t mean anything. The point is the transmisogyny got piled on early.
Before I had to hide my feelings about it I also looked up to the characters Poison Ivy (from batman) and Android 18 (from Dragon Ball Z). Ivy for her connection to plants and her hatred of men. 18 for her personal strength and not so conventional appearance. I looked up to those two fictional women and identified with them. For a while I looked up to my mother as well but that ended thanks to her abusive behavior.
I’ve talked about this before but starting in kindergarten my hatred for school began. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy learning but I do mean it when I say I have nothing but hatred for my time in school. Back then I had no words for that frustrated hatred of being forcibly put among boys but it mainly stemmed from being segregated away from other girls. Of course a large part was also being spoken over and constantly treated as other because other children read me as a girl due to social cues but saw me physically as a boy. This marked me as inferior and also abnormal from the get go. It didn’t matter how good I was athletically compared to boys because as a woman any boy was instantly considered a better choice in sports so I was always an outsider to the boys. I had few girlfriends at first but as we got older and they entered the boys are icky phase they just sort of stopped associating with me to protect themselves from the harassment of other kids.
Moving on to middle school and puberty,
So by middle school I was starting to struggle academically because of hating school which caused me to fake being sick a lot but also ideas about girls in math and science were starting to get to me. While my dad pushed me to computers because of his interest in them I got little to no encouragement on math and despite my mom having majored in biology also got very little encouragement for science. So at the end of the day messages about girls being inferior at math and science started to get to me. Especially since teachers in those classes would ignore me or just not try to help me very hard.
To this day I have a very negative relationship with math that revolves around feelings of it being too hard for me. As for science, well I love theory but you won’t catch me dead in a lab. While I’m sure some of you might just be thinking “well maybe you’re just not smart” I attend a major tech university for game design, know a couple different programming languages, and Japanese. So my ability to learn is definitely very able.
At this time I also developed breasts due to my intersex condition. I wonder if cis women have any idea what it’s like to attend an all boys school and have B cup breasts? But wait there’s more. Try being at an all boys school with B cup breasts and giving off social cues ascribed to femaleness. You quickly become a conduit for every misogynistic sentiment in that building. Every single male in there makes you a target for their misogyny. While in 8th grade I was sexually assaulted by a boy in high school because of my breasts. I continued to get talked over and treated as less than in every social interaction. I also had to deal with dysphoria at the same time. Like cis girls I was denied information about how my body works. Like cis girls I was treated as inferior. Like cis girls I was targeted for misogyny. I was a targeted for transmisogyny as well.
Now that I’ve been on hormones for a while and get read as a cis woman I am actually typically treated better socially than I was previously. Of course I’m also more likely to be a target of different kinds of violence while less so for others now. I experience more street harassment than I have in the past, but my sexual and physical boundaries are still disrespected pretty frequently like in the past. At least now I am more often able to actually access sisterhood and bond with other women.
Also thanks to my intersex condition I get to deal with a period and how it’s demonized in western culture. I also get to deal with more lesbophobia now. For example things like being told I just need a good dicking and then I’ll like men.
My life as a woman has been two decades of being treated as less than men, of being infantilized, of absorbing patriarchy’s messages for women, and being a target of sexual violence. Tell me again that I don’t know what it’s like to grow up as a woman, to be a woman in this society. I’m not some newcomer to womanhood. Socially, mentally, and physically I am a woman, and nobody is going to tell me otherwise. No amount of theory, no amount of fear, no amount of hatred is going to change my girlhood, nor my womanhood. I am a woman and I’ve always been that way.