Let me be clear, I’ve agreed with this in my past.
Hell, I’ve even said it, smugly, and defended it.
But the last few years, I’ve grow increasingly uncomfortable with this statement without knowing why, or being able to articulate it.
And it’s making the rounds again on social media.
A trans masculine friend of mine shared this with me and asked me to write about his perspective.
Which helped a few things click together for me.
Yes, I will acknowledge that there are SOME men who treat women poorly, KNOW they treat women poorly, and fear being treated that way by others.
However, this is not the full story.
Most men (although I believe if all people thought about it, it would apply) do not want to be treated the way men treat MEN they see as feminine.
You see the difference?
Even men who treat women pretty damn well know that men do not treat men with women’s characteristics well. And they don’t want to go through that.
And let’s not just pile on the men.
Women can be pretty fucking cruel to one another. And if a woman doesn’t live up to whatever standards of femininity, she is also treated shiftily by many of all genders.
And women can be cruel to men as well, treating anyone not “manly” enough like dirt.
All of that should be enough.
But wait, there’s more.
Don’t we fight for the right for people to be seen as they want to be be seen? AS THEY ARE?
My trans masculine friend is terrified of being seen as too feminine, because not passing, in his world, could mean a metric fuck-ton of trouble, danger, possibly death.
And really, trouble, danger and death should not bee needed to realize that it’s NOT OK to try to label people in ways they don’t want to be labeled.
We fight for our pronouns for a reason.
We like to be called by whatever names or nicknames or abbreviations we identify with, and hate others.
We ALL know what it’s like to bee seen as different, and to be treated poorly because of it (of course some more than others).
We ALL know what it’s like when someone keeps calling us a name we don’t like or tries to tell us we are something we are not, or tries to force us to live our lives in one particular way.
I mean, I get it.
The idea is catchy.
I used to love it, like I said. It made me feel superior and clever.
And I was wrong.
Because this is wrong.
And more than wrong, it’s harmful.
Please stop saying this, reposting this, sharing this. And if you can, please stand up to others who do.
But be kind.
Because like me, like you, everyone can make mistakes and not realize.