Guest post: It’s back to reinforcing our mind-forged manacles

Originally a comment by Seth on It means whatever you want it to mean, darling.

Shit like this makes me despair. I’ve spent most of my politically conscious life believing that the endgame of gender politics was removing the notion of gender entirely—breaking that all-too-human need to categorise things that’s resulted in certain behaviours being considered ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’. In my vision of society, it shouldn’t *matter* if some people who grow beards like to wear earrings and dress in pink and be in touch with their emotions (in fact all people should do more of the latter), and it shouldn’t *matter* that some people who lactate prefer to be firefighters or lumberjacks, and none of that should keep people from being assertive or self-confident or pursuing any skill or career that interests them. I always thought your plumbing should have about as much to do with your worth as a person as your eye and hair colour or your navel’s status as an innie or an outie.

But no; we live in a world now where well-meaning progressive people with beards and penises say they’re ‘femme’ if they’re sensitive and kind instead of being hyper-aggressive assholes, and where well-meaning progressive people with vaginas who don’t like pink or dresses or the thought of being homebody prom queens say they’re ‘transmasculine’. Instead of building a world where they can just be people, to live and die by their own auspices, we’re building a world where they’re—where we’re—all judged by the same old impossible standards that nobody’s ever been able to live up to.

It would be so much easier on everyone if we just broke the standards and let people express themselves however they wanted. But that’s not how our pattern-seeking brains work, I guess, so it’s back to reinforcing our mind-forged manacles.

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