So I’ve been reading as the whole myc thing is playing out, and other bloggers questioning her discursive treatment of AFAB people…and kind of wondering about it because my perspective (as an AFAB person, I should note) seems a little different:
I think that most AFAB people have had at least one or two toxic or scary experiences as the victim of men/maleness (to whatever degree; because patriarchy). And that for AFAB people with gender feelings or dysphoria, especially those who have spent time in a hardcore feminist and/or lesbian environment — and that’s going to be a whole fucking lot of us, because of the ways female masculinity has historically been expressed — the idea of becoming a man carries a specific kind of aversion and terror. Even if it’s also appealing. Even if it feels like it’s the right choice. It’s like giving us a chance to be the person holding the weapon, so to speak.
(So sidenote, just to be clear: trans* men do routinely resort to misogyny; they generally do have, and often refuse to acknowledge/reject, male privilege; AFAB people are routinely privileged above AMAB people in trans* communities. I am so not saying any of this is not true. I am also not saying I am exempt from it as someone who is AFAB and NB/genderqueer but “politically female.”)
The rhetoric “being a man is always bad, be a girl instead, shhhh just always be a girl” absolutely, expertly plays into those fears, and smarter people than I have been talking about that, but I want to explore another potential aspect:
So many of the AFAB people I know/follow/etc. fucking worshiped Cat Money as this untouchable demagogue of a theorist, and I think in part that is because it is really, really tempting to listen to someone who subtly buys into some of your worst fears about transition and gender, but then floats some postmodern rhetoric in and somehow settles on ‘no, it’s ok, you can just be AFAB and trans* and reject maleness and not be a man all at the same time’ — which I’m sure probably set a lot of transmasculine folk back (which is bad of course), but I think that it also encouraged a lot of AFAB people to think of themselves as occupying this wiggle room sort of thing where they didn’t quiiiiite have either cis privilege or male privilege.
Now: This is dangerous stuff to buy into for a group of people who historically have a lot of power over trans* women. Either way: because cis feminists often control the discourse of womanhood, and trans* men often control the discourse of being trans*. So not feeling accountable for either of those dynamics as an AFAB person is, I think, a really easy way to not acknowledge the specific oppressions that AMAB trans* people face.
So like. Hypothetically. I can imagine that if you wanted large amounts of social capital, especially in order to wield that power over other trans* women, you might want support and buy-in from a group of people who had the potential to wield relative amounts of social capital but also felt fucked up and dysphoric and insecure about their relationships to gender (in other words, who were still exploitable.)
And maybe I’m wrong, but?