This is a very slightly edited email from my lovely female friend who is not a radical feminist. In context it follows ‘Mirandagate’, how she feels about herself as a woman and how she feels about me. The author is someone who works with one of my company’s business partners, she writes brilliantly and to the point. I am thrilled to be able to publish her work and help give her a voice.
So I saw that Paris chick on the news… it confused me… made me angry in fact. Then I read the article and it made me actually despise her. Not helped by the fact I checked out her Twitter and Instagram accounts… The thing that bugged me about her on the news was that I didn’t click she was born a man until she said so.
Firstly, how can someone whose transition seems so flawless in the sense that you can’t tell she’s a man be an advocate for people who are struggling with this stuff because they may not look as feminine? Also, as she is quite happy to point out all the time, she didn’t have the chance to ‘be a bloke’, so how has she become the voice for people who have been and have transitioned at a totally different time as her? I appreciate that transitioning at whatever age must be hard but when you don’t have a grounding in a certain experience, how can you suddenly be an expert?
I was angry with myself for thinking this stuff about her until I read the article… (I wanted) to try and help justify how I was feeling or to make me understand so I didn’t feel angry. The article and internet stalking made me even angrier though. The thing that particularly bugs me about her is that the stuff she flaunts on Instagram / posts online / tweets is all the shit I hate about being a woman.
When I told you about how I’ve had people comment on how I should be more ‘ladylike’ recently, I was pissed off because they want me to be more like her. The way she dresses, the way she’s bitchy but not aggressive – if that makes sense? I think this is the big issue for me that surrounds this debate: I can’t get my head around why someone would want to be categorised as something that I myself and other women are trying to remove themselves from so vehemently. I feel super uncomfortable being told I need to be a girl… what is a girl?
I’m here trying to do everything I can to disassociate from being categorised and here’s this debate that wants me to accept that people want to be lumped into this group. I’m sorry if this sounds ignorant but if you feel you were born a woman or are a woman trapped inside a man’s body – and that feeling of being a woman is society’s construct of being a woman – then I feel really sorry for you. How can people go through such immense struggle to be put in a box created by a man… you’re trying to get away from being a man so why reinforce their stereotypes? It’s so easy for me to sit here and have opinions on trans folk (something I really do appreciate) but what exactly are people fighting for here?
I feel like all the people who are attacking you for your beliefs can do so because it’s easy… how could you be so cruel? How could you think it’s ok to ‘isolate’ trans folk? I’d like to flip that argument on it’s head and ask ‘why are you so adamant that you want to be categorised as man’s version of a woman?’. You have every right to be and do what you want as a human being (broad statement, I know!) but if you feel strongly about this and about being a woman, why aren’t you supporting women’s rights to not be categorised by society? Is it because they are men biologically that they can accept this stereotype of being a woman so easily? ‘I as a man created this idea of being a woman so it’s my right to be one’? That’s what it feels like and that is the root of all of my confusion around this debate.
The reason I (dislike) Paris’ online persona… isn’t purely down to the fact that I don’t understand her idea of being a woman, it’s also down to the fact that she seems to have revelled in the coverage this has got her ‘oh wow, I’m in the Guardian, woooo!’ – I’m really struggling to find compassion for someone who is ‘fighting’ the easy fight.
To be able to realise that you are not a woman and will never be one due to biology / society etc and to make the stand you have blows my mind. The more I learn about this debate, the greater my respect for you and your beliefs. I’m struggling with the fact that this debate isn’t really a debate too. It’s one sided and to hear that someone who is likeminded with so many other people in the same situation but choses to try and highlight the issue in a different way is being ostracised and avoided hurts my heart. If Paris has strength in her convictions, then why can’t she enter the debate and back up her side with her beliefs? I found it really cowardly that people were afraid to talk to you. If you’re afraid to enter the debate, get off your fucking soap box.