Aiding the patriarchy

My god people are confused. This particular confusion is from a year ago but the brand of confusion is still everywhere.

Rutgers University assistant professor Brittney Cooper joined HuffPost Live on Monday to discuss the exclusion of prominent black LGBT activists like Pauli Murray, who helped in the the progression of the civil rights movement.

From her campaign to matriculate into the University of North Carolina to her countless articles on race relations, Murray was an influential civil rights activist. Even with her list of accomplishments, Murray, who was of mixed-race heritage, saw her complex gender and sexual identity muted in favor of “respectability politics,” Cooper said.

Murray is part of a long history of gender nonconforming activists who struggled with finding an identity outside of the gender binary, Cooper said. Murray preferred androgynous dress, had a short hairstyle and [might] have identified as a transgender male today, but she lacked the language to do so at the time.

Whisky tango foxtrot. A woman with short hair does not find an identity outside the gender binary by identifying as a male! Why do people keep getting that so backward? Gender is the collection of dopy arbitrary rules of the type “gurlz wear dresses and boyz wear jeans.” Ignoring the dopy rules is finding an identity outside the gender binary. Switching to the Other set of rules is not – it’s reinforcing the gender binary.

Also…the way this plays out for far too many people is so profoundly insulting. Jonah Mix said so at the time:

The evidence the article gives for Murray’s supposed transgenderism is little more than her appreciation for pants, short hair, female sex partners, and the name Oliver – which she gave only once, to white male police officers, and there’s no other possible reason why a woman would want five men with unlimited power over her to not realize she’s a woman. So attention, all you women out there: If you have short hair, wear pants, and stand up to authority with bravery and conviction – you know, those three incredibly unladylike behaviors – then you are very likely A SECRET MAN. Because a person of strength, intelligence, and slacks who is also a woman? What a crazy thought!

Let’s do it to all of them! Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen, Emily Bronte – they were all actually trans men! We know this because they did brilliant work, and that’s more of a guy thing. George Eliot and George Sand just came right out and used male names, so that just goes to show, right?

This endless search backwards through time to find evidence of transgenderism relies on the most viciously conservative ideology possible, in which women displaying any form of intelligence, power, strength, and courage – you know, those personality traits that feminism exists to say are not inherently male – become evidence of manhood. Queers, either intentionally or not, aid the patriarchy by erecting incredibly rigid definitions of womanhood and manhood in a self-serving quest to catch as many people outside the boundaries as possible. It never seems to occur to them that maybe, just maybe, they can only sustain their community by reifying the “gender binary” they claim to hate so much.

It’s incoherent. It babbles about escaping the rigid gender binary in the very act of reinforcing it. It embraces a contradiction as its core ideology.

5 Responses to “Aiding the patriarchy”