Rethinking CIS: finding a few grains of truth in a fucked up TERF story.
If a bullshit argument gets repeated over and over again, sometimes it’s worth weighing it again to find out what it is inside that argument that makes it so appealing. I’ve been thinking a long time about objections people have to the word ‘cis’. Most is just bullshit ‘blah, blah, I don’t want my privilege labelled’, ‘blah blah, I want to be able to label you as other’ etc.
But one argument stood out:
We’re assigned a gender too.
Now, before we start, some common definitions of Cis:
“Cisgender means that you agree and identify with the gender you were assigned at birth.”
“Cisgender is a t type of gender identity perception, where an individuals’ experiences of their own gender agree with the sex they were assigned at birth.”
“Denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex.”
“If the doctor announces a baby as being a girl, and she is fine with being a girl, then she is cisgender.”
“You’re cisgender if the doctor says “it’s a boy” and you’re basically like truuuuuuuuuuuueeeeeeeeeeeeee forever”.
Now, there is something obviously absent here: transness. The experience of being assigned a gender that does not align with your gender identity. The experience of being transgender. But there is something implied in all these definitions too: agreement (notice the word agree in 2 of them), comfort, being ‘fine with that’, the absense of trauma. That, I think, is a mistake.
See, being assigned a gender at birth is not merely a word, it’s a pretty big package deal. It comes with a set of boundaries, a set of expectations, a set of pressures, a set of dangers, a set of assumptions. If you’re assigned female at birth, it comes with a second class status, a target on your back to subject you to violence and rape, and a worth almost completely defined by what you could mean to a man. We’re not just assigned a gender identity, we’re also all assigned a gender role in a violently sexist society.
And gender roles never fit. They’re designed not to fit. The ideal male role and the ideal female role are completely unachieable goals that we’re nonetheless pressured to meet. Sometimes, when a man loves cars and beer and the gym and doesn’t cry much, they almost feel comfortable. But on some level, they never truly fit any of us.
So, thing number one: We’re all coercively assigned a highly restrictive and violently policed gender role that does not fit us.
But that’s not all. A little side story: In 2009 I was sterilized against my will because I am trans. It was a very traumatic experience, a violation that turned upside down every right I believed I had and told me I did not have the right to exist.
Incidently, I also never ever ever want children and had at several points in my pre-2009 life considered sterilization. Given enough time, I probably would have eventually chosen the procedure myself. As a result of that, I am not childless against my will and do not suffer the same grief and despair as my trans friends who wanted children and find that that option was taken from them. That is a struggle I don’t have. But that did not make my experience any less traumatizing. I don’t ‘agree’ with what’s happened to me. I’m not ‘fine with it’. It was a deeply violating nonconsentual act on my body that marked this body and this life as ‘not truly mine to control’.
So, thing number two: Being forced to walk a road that you would have walked anyway is still nonconsentual, coercive and potentionally traumatizing.
And finally- I lack the experience and knowledge to explain this last point in depth - quite a few trans POC have already pointed out that what our society defines as ‘man’ and ‘women’ are very specifically white gender identities. Stuck between hypersexualization and desexualization, ‘dangerous’, ‘exotic’ and ‘submissive’, men, women and genderdiverse people of colour all experience that their gender will always be viewed as deviant because it can not comfort to white womanhood or white manhood. For those at the receiving end of genocide, colonisation and westernisation, frameworks for what it means to be a man, a woman or some other gender within their own culture are almost completely inaccessable, erasured, destroyed and replaced with a white western gender binary.
So, thing number 3: Colonialism means people of colour are marked gender deviants by default while being denied to a non-colonialized understanding of their gender identity.
Now, put all those things together and I think we need to radically rethink what it means to be cisgender.
I don’t think we need to get rid of the word cisgender. It’s very valuable to have a word that describes not being transgender and not having to deal with specific trans experiences.
I do think we need to get to an understanding of cis that acknowledges that assigning a gender to a person who turns out to be cis is still restrictive, colonializing, potentially traumatizing and ultimately nonconsentual.
This is not fine. This is not in agreement. This is, in fact, still violence.
The Cliff Notes For Bagging The Older Rich Man You’ve Always Wanted
The Cliff Notes For Bagging The Older Rich Man You’ve Always Wanted
Seriously, let’s be short and sweet: you want a very rich guy to date, and you want him NOW. Here are some short, no-holds barred tips from expert sugar babies for getting into your older man’s bed, wallet and heart as fast as you can!
Here are some tips from our sugar babies:
Seem smart: a hot airhead is a dime a dozen, but a well-read, worldly girl (or seemingly worldly) is much rarer.
Bring a mirror for quick makeup touch ups. You’ll be glad you did!
Keep up your hotness. Always look hot. Always. If it means quick touch ups of makeup in the morning, so be it. He brings cash to the table, and you bring the mind-blowing good looks. Period.
Don’t be to eager. Play the field. If the sugar daddy in question is interested, take his number but don’t jump all over yourself trying to make a connection. Seeming a little aloof is much sexier than being really into someone. Play it cool.
Seem like you have money. So your bank account’s zero? No problem, as long as you look like you don’t need the cash. Desperation is definitely NOT sexy.
Hot rich men like exotic girls. If you’re from Akron, no problem. Seem exotic by creating an aura of mystery about you. You don’t have to answer every question or respond to every remark; smile like you’ve got a secret, girl, even if your secret is that you aren’t that exotic!
Guys love long hair. If you can rock short, awesome. But- hair to run your fingers through is, in my experience, uber sexy.
Be discreet. Be discreet about your sugar baby/sugar daddy arrangement, about handling cash, and about what each others’ titles are. Remember, ladies- keep it classy.
Value yourself. If you ever feel uncomfortable, get the eff outta there. Period.
Practice walking in new heels before you go out on the town. This will help you break your new shoes in, but will also help you with your heel-walk. Crucial!
Live your dreams. Remember, you’re a sugar baby for a reason! Let the money help you achieve all the things you want it to (college, travel, etc). Don’t get caught up in jewelry or material things…it’s all about the experience.
Smile. Always, always, always smile. It’s your best look.
Read sex books. Even if you don’t use the tips, they’ll make you a more sexually confident person.
Love the way you look in clothes. If you don’t feel comfortable, you aren’t going to look comfortable. When you don’t look comfortable, you don’t feel comfortable. And when you don’t feel comfortable, you definitely don’t look sexy. Always look sexy, ladies!
Have fun! Seriously, being a sugar baby is SUPPOSED to be fun! If you aren’t having fun, date someone who you DO have fun with. That’s what life’s about, right?
As a latinx person I hope for representation, as a child I would cling on to every character with brown hair, because that’s the closest thing I could get. When I was 10 I wanted white features, because that way I would look “attractive” and like the people on TV. It took me 3 years to accept my features and find myself beautiful. I started for searching for representation, good representation where girls weren’t sexualizes or seen as bad or simply exotic. Where men weren’t seen as the “sexy exotic boy with the accent”, where we weren’t sewn as drug dealers and the punchline wasn’t that we hopped over the border. Where our punchline wasn’t our goddamn accent and they wouldn’t the character seriously because of it. I wanted goo representation. I still do. I got tired of seeing the same troupes and features because we are fucking diverse.
I want to see latinamericans as respected professionals that are seen just as competent as the white man.
I want black latinamericans that aren’t told that they aren’t “really black” or that they have to choose.
I want white passing latinamericans that aren’t told that they aren’t Latinamericans.
I want latinamericans that aren’t sexualized.
I want aromantic latinamericans.
I want latinamericans that aren’t touchy feely.
I want mentally ill latinamericans.
I want latinamericans with strong indigenous features.
I want latinamericans that aren’t ridiculed for their accents.
I want latinamericans that aren’t question for their lack of accent.
I want half Asian half latinamericans (they are prominent in some places) that aren’t called “chinitos”.
I want religious latinamericans that aren’t ridiculed or stereotypes.
I want atheist latinamericans.
I latinamericans with different religions.
I want latinamericans that have small families.
I want latinamericans that have big families and it isn’t seen as a joke.
I want latinamericans that don’t speak Spanish and told that they “aren’t really latinamerican”
I want latinamericans that were born in the US and get respected.
I want biracial latinamericans that aren’t told tel choose or that are “watered down versions” of either their race or ethinicty.
I want latinamericans whose main language isn’t Spanish.
I want latinamericans that are nb and that have to struggle the pronouns in Spanish, but that their main story arc isn’t that.
I want trans latinamericans who are supported.
I want nb latinamericans that don’t struggle.
I want queer latinamericans.
I want questioning latinamericans.
I want brown latinamericans that aren’t stereotypes.
I want latinamericans that are geniuses.
I want poor latinamericans that aren’t seen as dumb or drug dealers.
I want rich latinamericans that still have their culture.
I want open minded latinamericans.
I want latinamerican representation like Poe and Cassian.
I want latinamericans that prefer American food but love latinamerican music.
I want latinamericans that love tortillas and such but love American music.
I want fat latinamericans that are still seen as beautiful and respected.
I want skinny latinamericans that aren’t called the top model of sex or are insulted.
I want latinamericans that are sewn as white passing in their country but in the US are seen as brown.
I want muscular latinamericans.
I want sensitive and emotional latinamerican men that aren’t made fun of or seen exotic.
I want latinamerican women that aren’t fetishized.
I want the punchline of the crossing the border to end.
I want indigenous people in Latin America to stop being seen as savages an instead seen as a people protecting themselves from white invaders.
I want latinamericans that are /respected as much as white people/ .
I want us to be represented correctly. Every type of latinamerican. Because we are diverse. We are NOT all the same. We all deserve to be represented. I want a little latinamerican kid to look at the TV and be happy, because there’s someone that looks like them. And I want it in this century. In this decade. And if not in this one the next.
We deserve this. Every minority deserves this. And if I missed anyone I’m sorry.
Of course those goddamn gringos only care about themselves. I hope it happens during Trumps candidacy so he cam fucking deal with it and suffer.
Recently I found out that there are people finding Sense8 racist. Do you think that the show is problematic?
Sense8 is definitely racist in some parts! I should not be taken as the definitive authority on this – here is a much more definitive review from Nerds of Color – but here are some examples off the top of my head.
Will being shown as saintly for not shooting an injured unarmed black kid while his black partner (and a black nurse at a hospital) wants to leave him to bleed out.
A lot of the romantic tropes in the Wolfgang/Kala relationship echo colonialist narratives about romances between white men and “exotic” “Oriental” women.
Wolfgang and Felix get screwed over by a cautious, stingy Jewish jeweler. Also Dr. Metzger’s last name is Jewish, one of Whispers’ aliases has a Jewish last name, and the showrunners used “Hallelujah,” perhaps the most Jewish song written in the English language, for a Christmas scene.
The East Asian character is the one who knows fancy martial arts.
In the slurs flashback scene in the Christmas special, Capheus being called the N word is presented as equivalent to Wolfgang being called a Nazi or Will being called a pig.
In Season 2, Zakia’s criticism of Capheus lionizing European action heroes is presented as equivalent to the Mexican reporter’s homophobia.
At the cast party in Hollywood, a bunch of white gay men tell Lito to strip nearly naked so they can dress him up like a doll. None of this is presented as gross or a problem.
While all the other sensates are presented as pastiches on genres native to their home countries (Lito is in a telenovela, Wolfgang is in a German noir film, Kala is in a Bollywood film, etc.), Capheus lives in a genre that isn’t even from his own country (Van Damme movies.)
how is comparing skin color to a food racist? if someone's skin is literally the color of chocolate or caramel or even bread, how is that racist? you'd compare the color of someone's hair to the color of food, wouldn't you? maybe even their eyes? how is it any different with skin? comparing a color to the color of something else isn't wrong. especially when it's not done in a demeaning way (such as comparing it to the color of something gross/disgusting)
The way I see it, in my experience as an Asian woman reading various books and just simply living in society, is that comparing skin colour to a food is mainly seen applied to people of colour. And are sometimes labelled as such, from white authors. White authors, as in, people who are in positions of privilege. Writing with Colour is a fantastic blog and has very many informative posts as to why comparisons between skin and food are not PC. A couple of reasons why comparing skin colour to food is racist (I’ll also link the places where I got the information from):
1. Fetishisation.Typically seen in women when they’re catcalled, like “I’d like some of that honey!” It’s used as a direct reference to her skin colour and therefore perpetuates the idea that a woman’s skin colour is tied to her sexual worth. (Don’t even get me started on saying Asian’s are ‘exotic’ oml) Even with men, and describing POC as “chocolate” or “cocoa”, it has the ability to make people feel uncomfortable and to be seen as something to be ‘consumed’. (It also has links to colonialism so, I suggest if anyone has described POC as ‘chocolate’ or ‘cocoa’, to replace those descriptions.)
2. Links to Colonialism. Explaining what was just said in the brackets, words like ‘cocoa’, ‘coffee’, and ‘hazelnut’ have clear links to the slave trade for POC. It’s not a good idea to compare a person to a trade that has economically and socially oppressed them for centuries, and still do.
3. Don’t dance around it. This is just my personal opinion, but the whole tirade of avoiding using the words to describe people (black, brown, white, pink, beige, etc.) and instead using food, is just, making the problem worse (and doesn’t necessarily make for better writing)? There’s thispost where it describes the different ways of describing POC without comparisons to food. (I’ve said it once. I’ll say it again. Writing with Colour is an amazing blog.)
Skin colour itself was used to determine various social and economical positions within society (ie. Apartheid with racial segregation, genocide in the colonisation of Australia, etc.). Hair and eye colour were not. This is a matter of white people writing about black people as if they were ‘coffee’, asian people as if they were ‘maple syrup’, etc.
Even today, there are still economical and social gaps between POC and white people (this is a result of the systematic and internalised racism of previous generations). By using that history in a fetishised way, and by using it against them like white people did when slave trade were happening, even if it is subtle and not meant to be demeaning, it’s a revelation of unconscious perceptions of races that are not your own.
If, however, they are your own race, then its up to you. Your prerogative.