i’ve been working 3+ years in a job during which i’ve seen hundreds of women’s bodies in a medical context

lemme tell you a thing

women are fucking hairy, ok? i’ve seen women covered with hair from their ankles to their armpits. women with super visible pubic hair that approaches their bellybuttons, regardless of race/ethnicity. we have hair absolutely everywhere and our public image as women is totally devoid of this reality. 

men really have no idea how hard women have to work to make ourselves hairless. it’s as unnatural for us as it is for them but this is something that doesn’t even cross their minds as they emerge from their caves looking like unwashed wookies not even aware of how much they’re just allowed to exist.

At times I needed
my friends, 
more than I needed myself,
more than I ever needed 
a man. You see, 
I would get so 
homeless without 
them. So unpoetic. 
They were the love of my 
life. 
I was so goddamn 
melancholic withiout them.
Sweetly pathetic without them. 
They were my temple, 
my place to go
when I needed forgivness.
Chocolate and kisses, 
soft touches on my body.
I would have chosen them 
over 
and over again. 
Our phone dialogue
were movie scripts,
manuscripts of hours,
hours of poetry.
They were my muse,
and they knew it. Till the bone.
I wrote them down like
I owed them all of my poetry.
At times they used me,
and I was there to be used.
At times I used them
till my sins were theirs.
—  My Girlfriends Were The Love Of My Life by Royla Asghar

The idea of “trans women” reduces womanhood to a set of misogynistic stereotypes about women.

The female body is not a stereotype. And there’s nothing negative about being a person who exists in a female body. There’s nothing wrong or bad or inferior about existing in a female body.

Existing in a female body doesn’t have to be defined by a set of misogynistic stereotypes–like having a nurturing personality, being sweet and sensitive, liking cute things, enjoying getting dressed up, etc..

Every woman, that is, every person who exists in a female body, should not find herself limited to a certain set of roles that men have assigned to her.

Women are rough and rugged, women are loud and assertive, women are wild and hairy and covered with scars, women can be anything and everything we want to be, and still be women.

But if womanhood was defined by existing in the female body, then these mentally ill men wouldn’t have their feelings validated!

No, trans women, just like all men, are invested in enabling patriarchy to exist. Without patriarchal gender roles, trans women have no way of claiming themselves to be women or marking themselves as women.

why do women act feminine?

If your feminism fails to answer this question, it’s missing the point.

If your feminism fails to ask, “What is femininity? Where does it come from? Why is femininity constructed the way it is?” then your feminism is missing the point.

If your feminism fails to ask, “who benefits from women’s femininity?” then it is missing the point.

And your feminism needs to ask these questions fearlessly, deeply, and critically–not out of a knee-jerk, emotional defense for the feminine things many of us women love. It is possible, after all, to enjoy something while thinking critically about it and getting to the core of the truth.

That means looking at history, looking at how society got to be the way it is today. The past did not happen in an alternate reality, we are living in the direct consequences of the past.

Look at our society. why does one half of the population wear make up and the other half doesn’t? How do you explain widespread patterns in society?

The society you are born in to determines a lot about who you are. You would be a different person if you were born to parents living in opulent Dubai, than if you were born to parents living in a slum on the outskirts of Rio. How you are raised matters. How the children you interact with in school are raised matters. Everything about your environment matters.

Femininity is a social construct. It has a different meaning in each culture. Women from different cultures do not have brains hardwired to think about femininity differently from birth–such an idea is extremely racist, in addition to being misogynistic. Women in Chad and Nigeria are not born with the desire to wear lip plates. Chinese women were not born, until fairly recently, with the idea of binding their own feet in their brains. Neither are Western women born with the idea that we must cover our faces in make up. These ideas are all products of culture.

A social construct is like a big game of pretend that every adult human being in a society buys in to and perpetuates. Santa Claus is a social construct.

Understanding this, we can see that femininity is not natural. Women are not born with brains hardwired to desire adhering to their culture’s idea of what femininity means. We are raised within a culture, we get ideas from that culture, and that affects each and every one of us. Nobody is a special snowflake. All of our choices are made within a culture, all of our choices have consequences.

Science supports the idea that male and female brains are not all that different at all. The minor differences in hormones do not explain the big differences in behavior between men and women. Culture, however, does explain this.

When you observe everyone like you behaving a certain way since childhood, your subconscious internalizes this. Most of what we learn about how to act and behave is subconscious.

For centuries, men have been using the idea that women are naturally feminine to justify oppressing us. Men have been saying that women’s brains are naturally prone to being more nurturing than men’s, that our brains are inferior to their brains, that we are naturally obsessed with beauty rather than absorbing ideas about beauty and how it affects us from culture.

Feminists understand that women are not naturally feminine, but that the reason we “choose” to be is because if we do not comply, society will punish us, so we make these choices to behave in feminine ways because of the consequences. And of course, enjoying the only choice you are allowed to make is much more fun than hating the only choice you are allowed to make–and also makes you more likable.

Society punishes ugly women for not conforming to the feminine ideal of beauty. Beautiful women receive positive reinforcement for their conformity through compliments. Some ugly women become socially isolated because society values women based on beauty to such a degree, that people will often choose which women to associate with based on looks alone.

Society punishes loud women for not conforming to the feminine ideal of silence. Quiet women avoid being labeled a “bitch” and are thought of as being inherently better people than outspoken women.

Society punishes women who put their own interests first, for not conforming to the feminine ideal of putting others before themselves. Women who neglect their own needs or make sacrifices are thought of as doing “the right thing.”

As long as femininity exists as the standard for women that we are socially punished for not conforming to, women will not be free. as long as we only have one choice to make, we can not be free. as long as the idea that women are “naturally” feminine exists, women will not be free.

Consider butch women. Consider gender non-conforming women. Consider non-feminine women. Consider ugly women. Consider women who reject femininity. Their womanhood is valid, and yet, men are constantly saying they are not “real women” for failing to live up to male ideas of how woman should act and behave.

Feminism is against the idea that women are naturally feminine.

The idea that women are naturally feminine is a male invented idea, it is a patriarchal idea, it is a conservative idea, it is an idea that has been used to oppress women for centuries. any human being should be allowed to have any personality.

Stop devaluing and erasing non-feminine women.

Stop linking femininity with womanhood. They are not the same thing.

Femininity is an aspect of culture. Femininity is a social construct. Femininity, whether you enjoy it or not, was created by men specifically to oppress women for their benefit.

Womanhood is natural. Womanhood does not have cultural limits. 

Womanhood exists independently of culture, and can not be defined by individual personality traits–womanhood encompasses the lives and experiences of all women, regardless of their interests, hobbies, looks, or personality.

Womanhood is not a personality type.

Womanhood is a lived experience and a state of existence. Womanhood is not a social construct. 

Womanhood can exist free of limits, when feminism succeeds.

“We do not need to reward men for doing what should be considered the basic minimum of decency in regards to gender equality…Women are not obliged to make room in the feminist movement for men to be given space, leadership and microphones - we have far too many women we need to make room for before we invite men to take the floor. 

It is a false premise to insist that feminism must be conciliatory to men if we want it to succeed. If liberation for women could be achieved by politely asking men to give it to us, don’t you think we would have it by now? Structures of power aren’t dismantled by the kindness of those people they oppress - they are only strengthened. 

Glamour might just be a silly magazine, but their actions still have impact. Women do not have enough space in the world. That’s the point. Stop giving away the little that we do have in some kind of weird attempt to curry favour with the boys.”

-Clementine Ford, ‘Feminism is not obliged to make room for men, and that includes Bono’

We make them feel as though by being born female, they are already guilty of something. And so girls grow up to be women who cannot say they have desire. Who silence themselves. Who cannot say what they truly think. Who have turned pretense into an art form.
—  We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ok so, like, I keep on thinking abt this question of like embodiment and misogyny, and how to properly explicate this in a way that will connect what I’m trying to convey. I know it’s maybe annoying, and like obviously is not going to convince anyone who has an a priori commitment to cissexism (to the extent of like rejecting large swaths of feminist literature like Irigaray, Wittig, Dworkin, etc), but here we go.

I think that a charge or anxiety that people have when I raise the issue of misogyny in being enforced regardless of embodiment is that it is asserting that bodies considered ‘female’ aren’t a site of misogynist oppression, and like I think I’ve said quite a few times that this isn’t what I think. Just that it is their proximity to womanhood that is what brings misogyny: the further from this consideration of womanhood, the less misogyny will impact someone.

And a comparison that came to my mind was the situation re: The Feminine Mystique by Friedan. The basic premise of the book is that the pressures to be a housewife and stay at home mother are a tool of patriarchal oppression against women. Her suggestion for a solution to this is for women to be self actualized thru living their own life (w their own employment being a major component of this).

Multiple critiques of this perspective came up. The primary one was from lower class women and women of color who contended that the book completely ignored that there were plenty of women who weren’t staying at home, because they were out working low class jobs (such as raising other people’s children!).

So here you can see that there are multiple ways (even what might look like contradictory ways) that women’s relationship to work is a site of misogynistic oppression: some women are expected to not work, and simply be helping some man who has a fully actualized life, and other women are expected to perform low wage labor while still performing many of the same domestic duties. The question isn’t whether one is working or not, and only the most well off women would be able to have any relationship to work that isn’t substantially informed by misogyny.

And that critique of The Feminine Mystique doesn’t mean that compulsory housewife status or the relegation of women to the domestic sphere isn’t bad or misogyny! Like these can both be true at the same time, and are not a zero sum game.

This is what I’m talking abt when I’m talking abt misogynistic oppression that falls on women’s bodies (both cis and trans). Much like women’s work or non work is frequently coerced and devalued in capitalist patriarchy by virtue of being considered 'womens work’ and its relationship to men, women’s bodies whether cis or trans are devalued and the site of violence and coercion, because of their proximity to womanhood.

Watch on mandrakeandmarjoram.tumblr.com

Reflections on Beyonce’s Grammy Performance:

“It’s important to me to show images to my children that reflect their beauty so they can grow up in a world where they look in the mirror — first through their own families, as well as the news, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the White House and the Grammys — and see themselves,” she said (Beyonce Grammys 2017).

Beyonce’s Grammy performance speaks to gennerational traumas, to womanhood, to mothers and those who give birth to us and who are then punished for the act of pushing us out of their wombs. Her performance speaks to the Divinity within Black bodies, coloured bodies, marginalized bodies that have been taught that God cannot exist within us.

I see those who say her speech was too long, her words self indulgent, her image overated? I ask then, have you really listened and received what she is saying?

Why is it so contreversial for God to exist in the body of a Black Woman? Why is it so contrversial for Black and Brown and Coloured bodies, on who’s very shoulders our societies have long stood on to be built but is overdue in recounciliation and recognition, to embody the Divinity of Motherhood? To speak to that Divinity? And that glorious celebration of that Divinity?

Beyonce, with all her privileges and under privileges is using this platform to tell her story, and through her story to speak to generational healing of those who have been abused and brutalized by the toxicity of colonial masculinity.

It was perfect to me, Divine, and speaks to the reality of Divinity within bodies that embody God within our blood, our sweat, our tears, our triumphs, our healing, the revolutionary reality of our very existence, in a society that would make us invisible. When we become invisible no more.

I see you. I see you. I see you. 🔥🍯💋❤🔥

#Beyonce #Crying #AllTheFeels