Guest post: Reinforcing the boxes instead of dismantling them

Guest post by tiggerthewing.

Ophelia pointed out the strange gender-essentialist world of some millennials, as revealed by a Guardian article.


One of the commenters linked to a description by someone of their ‘gender fluidity’.

There was one comment in particular that showed that the idea of gender essentialism has bamboozled young people:

also, my gender fluidity seems a bit different than yours (I just want to point this out), for me, I don’t really have with my body, It’s with the way I feel, sometimes I feel boy-ish sometimes girly-ish, and isn’t really my body that’s that’s the problem.

Despite what these people might be reading and hearing, that isn’t a description of someone who is trans but a description of normal, everyday experience of being human – which is why prescriptive and proscriptive gender roles are so harmful.

That the idea, for instance, that all women – and only women – like sparkly, brightly-coloured clothes, make-up and long hair, is precisely what feminists are arguing against. Just because, like the religion of one’s parents, it is an idea trained into children long before they have any capacity to reason, doesn’t make it true.

But instead of listening to older feminists who are trying to explain that since everyone has moods when they experience desires and feelings that their society only deems suitable for the opposite sex, so we should change society to reflect that, they have what amounts to a religious fervour regarding the truth of gender roles, so must mould their bodies with each mood swing to reflect which of the two ‘genders’ their current mental state occupies.

In this topsy-turvy world view, sex becomes irrelevant, and ‘gender’ paramount. ‘Girls’ can have ‘girl-dicks’ (and, presumably, ‘boys’ can have ‘boy vaginas’). Note the infantilising language, too; another reminder that these views are entirely comfortable within patriarchal constructs, which hold that only the most masculine of manly men are true adults worthy of the state of full personhood and everyone else is pretty much a child with no rights. And feminism is transphobic for pointing out the inherent bigotry? Please!

Why are they fighting the very people trying to liberate them? Why are they so determined to fit themselves into the boxes that they’ll accept the notion that ‘boys’ can’t have feelings ascribed to ‘girls’ or vice versa? They think that they are actually (and bravely) moving between gender boxes, but really they are only moving to a different corner of the same one, and getting pissed off when people point out that they haven’t actually moved boxes at all; indeed, by reinforcing the boxes instead of dismantling them, they are making it harder to move between them.

Adults indulge small children when they toddle up and declare “I’m a tiger! Roar!” and I think that these people are disappointed that the indulgence doesn’t extend into adulthood. Declaring “Today I’m a girl, so I have a girl-dick!” doesn’t get the “Of course you are. Which pronouns do you prefer today?” response they think that they are entitled to.

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