Moving Toward the Ugly: A Politic Beyond Desirability | Leaving Evidence

Moving Toward the Ugly: A Politic Beyond Desirability | Leaving Evidence.

Many people assume that I identify as femme and even call me femme, but the truth is that “femme” has not felt like a term where I belonged nor was it a place I wanted to be.   I rarely see femme being done in a way that actually challenges and transforms gender, rather than colluding in an alternative enforcing of gender.  Many of the people in this room are more invested in being beautiful and sexy than being magnificent.  Even something as small as the time I nervously asked a comrade femme of color friend of mine to wear sneakers in solidarity with me, instead of her high heels, because I didn’t want to be the only one and didn’t want to get chided from other femmes of color about my shoes (as so often has happened).  She said “no,” but she (of course) “totally didn’t think there was anything wrong with wearing sneakers.”

Tobi Hill-Meyer, Autogynophilia pathologizes normal female behavior

Tobi Hill-Meyer: Autogynophilia pathologizes normal female behavior.

…they were cis women. No one is going to take away their womanhood for feeling sexy about lingerie and slinky dresses. This seems to be something cis women, particularly femmes, do all the time.

The bottom line is that the behavior classified as autogynophilia is normal female behavior. Charles Moser did a small study where he tried applying the criteria for it to cis women and found that 93% of cis women qualify as autogynophiles. So why are trans women subjected to this standard and often stigmatized, punished, or denied access to healthcare if they fit this criteria? And why is there no similar criteria for trans men?

It seems to me this is primarily about exerting the control doctors have over trans people to maintain male control over the sexuality of women.

Cis Denial, Self-Knowledge, and Sexist Epistemology

What does it mean that cis people are that clueless about the motivations of their own actions, the motivations of the institutions to which they belong or on which they depend? Isn’t it kind of troubling to think of cis people as being fundamentally not-self-aware, or to think that trans people might better understand what a cis person is thinking than that cis person hirself?

This is a kind of ignorance that I find deeply unsettling, yet it’s not legible as ignorance, because it’s fundamentally about self-knowledge. And here’s where we get to sexist epistemology: the kinds of knowledge that to lack is called “ignorance” are more likely to be coded masculine–terminology, politics, etc–and are all public sphere, whereas cis people’s lack of knowledge coded feminine and private sphere–self-knowledge–is not. Thus, “ignorance”‘s epistemology–theory of knowledge–values masculine knowledge over feminine knowledge.

Self-knowledge cannot be taught in trans 101 workshops, nor can one ever completely deny accountability for a lack of it. It’s a much more arduous process to obtain self knowledge than to learn the “right terminology,” and the process is fundamentally one that has to be self-driven. In some ways, this understanding of what knowledge cis people lack is deeply dispiriting–while it takes the onus off trans people to educate cis people, it also implies that much of what cis people need to learn we *can’t* teach them or pressure them to learn, that they can only learn through a painful process of introspection few are motivated enough to attempt, and which it’s incredibly difficult (impossible?) to hold individuals accountable for whether or not they do. It’s also dispiriting in that if ending transphobia depends on skills that are devalued as feminine and are deliberately undermined by capitalism and advertising, it makes the project that much more daunting.

Combatting “Combatting Ignorance” Part 3 (of 4): Cis Denial, Self-Knowledge, and Sexist Epistemology | Taking Up Too Much Space.

You Look Like Shit: Fashion and Etiquette for Anarcho-bros

You Look Like Shit: Fashion and Etiquette for Anarcho-bros. I’m not down with this whole workshop description, but I am intrigued. I would go to this, if Berkeley and I were closer.

How are we supposed to trust our comrades when every day they are shoving cargo shorts and ill fitting t-shirts in our faces? In this presentation, we will be looking at one of the pillars of femme methodology—fashion—in order to critique some of the invisible authoritarianism inherent in typical anarcho-bro styles. In particular, we will discuss the black bloc and imagine alternatives to the supremacy of the all black uniform as the image of global anarchism. It is apparent that the black bloc has almost entirely eclipsed its role as a tactic and become nothing more than a symbolic gesture or a sign of affiliation and in this way is indistinguishable in its usage from any other nationalist uniform. How can we move away from these symbolic fetishes and apply the concept of direct action to our fashion choices? And is it necessary, as some have claimed, to hold a temporary moratorium on the black bloc in order to allow new innovations in anarchist resistance? Far from mere frivolity, we will see how fashion plays a critical role in the efficacy of your projects, actions, crews, collective houses, romances, etc and is imperative to the goal of abolishing capitalism and the state itself. A solid grasp of fashion will offer anarcho-bros a path out of perpetual douche-baggery and can potentially guide you from bro to boulevardier. I repeat, this event is a truly bro-friendly safe space; you will not be shunned, spit on, or scratched at any time during this presentation.