Here’s what I think is going on some of the time when trans* women are selectively accused of being ‘too academic’. I think the critic is saying: ‘You’ve spent time thinking about something I don’t have to think about, and I don’t want to have to.’
Society, however, does not see all fat as being equal. A man can be much, much fatter than a woman and still be viewed as comfortably within the standard deviation; most department stores carry men’s pants up to a size 42, which is the rough equivalent of a women’s size 24—a size that a woman would have to visit a specialty big-girl store or “Women’s” department to find. Men are comfortable on beaches with their beach-ball bellies hanging over their swimsuit waistbands, bronzing their fat in the sun, whereas my fat women friends struggle to find swimwear that does not feature a skirt.
So me, I’m transgendered. It means that the gender I present in the world is not congruent with the sex that I was assigned at birth; in practical terms, I mostly look like a man but have a body that some would consider physiologically female. Even though I don’t identify as a man (I am a butch, which is its own gender), I am taken for a man about two-thirds of the time. And when I am taken for a man, I am not fat.
As a man, I’m a big dude, but not outside the norm for such things. I am just barely fat enough to shop at what I call The Big Fat Tall Guy Store, and can sometimes find my size in your usual boy-upholstery emporia. Major clothing labels, like Levi Strauss, make nice things in my size, and I am never forced to wear anything that appears to have been manufactured at Mendel the Tentmaker’s House o’ Fashion. (Although those things do exist for men, too. Those terrycloth shirts with the waistbands? Oy.) I can order extra salad dressing or ice cream or anything else in a restaurant and have it arrive without comment; I can eat it in public without anyone taking a bit of notice, even if I am shoving it into my mouth while walking down a crowded street and getting crumbs all over my chest in the process. I can run for a bus or train without anyone making a snide remark.
As a big guy, I’m big enough to make miscreants or troublemakers decide to take their hostility elsewhere. As a woman, I am revolting. I am not only unattractively mannish but also grossly fat. The clothes I can fit into at the local big-girl stores tend to fit around the neck and then get bigger as they go downward, which results in a festive butch-in-a-bag look—all the rage nowhere, ever. No matter how clearly I order a Coke in a restaurant I must be on a diet, and so I get a Diet Coke—usually with a lemon floating in it accusatorily, looking up at me as if to say, “This is as good as it’s going to get, lardass.” Wait staff develop selective amnesia about my side of fries or my request for butter, and G-d help me if I get caught eating (or even shopping) in public as a woman.
S. Bear Bergman, “Part-Time Fatso” (via wretchedoftheearth)
I love how stories make facts come to life.
Yes. I mean, with Tyler, you had people just posting pictures of his face with “FUCK YOU” written over it and some of them didn’t even know exactly what he had done. Personally, I feel like if you’re going to call someone out on their bullshit, it should be constructive. The person should learn something. You shouldn’t attack the person, you should attack what they have said or done. Because people make mistakes, people mess up. And because Tumblr makes it so easy to pass on and share, it can get out of control so quickly.
Until I got called out on Tumblr, I wasn’t even really aware of the “call-out culture.” I mean, I got ripped to fucking shreds because people were upset that I went on Anderson and they felt that I didn’t do a good job explaining microaggressions and racism. But to be fair, when I was there, I didn’t have a PR person or prepared speech, and I was edited to here and back. They changed so much of what everyone was saying and how people were responding. It was the week the video went viral and everything was happening so quickly, and I had no idea how big and important things were getting. So I got ripped a new one on Tumblr. I had Black people calling me the N-word, calling me Uncle Tom, just unimaginable shit. I was devastated, I was bawling. I couldn’t understand it.
But through all of the nasty things, one of the people who called me out actually messaged me and offered to talk to me about why people were so upset. And now we talk all the time, and I have learned so much from her. So at first I was so upset because people were coming after me, but I really did need to hear and learn about a lot of it, no matter how profanity-laden it was. It made me think “What are better ways to call people out?” Because when you start screaming at me and calling me names, I shut down. So maybe that is why I really feel torn about the “call-out culture” thing.
Thankfully got some good advice recently reminding me about the importance of not being too aggressive so people will be open to hearing and learning instead of being on the defensive. Of course it’s natural when coming from a place of hurt and anger but sometimes the person at fault is the sort who’s open to listening and changing when given the chance. Sometimes though, it’s important to remember that it’s not your job to fix their faults. Sometimes you just need to walk away for your own well-being.
But I also think there’s still a place for yelling at someone like Stephen Harper to voice displeasure. We have to be careful though that we don’t automatically push away someone we could have calmly chatted with so they see our side.
PoC are constantly expected to be emotional midwives to white people. Attempts to claim space or identity for ourselves–without deference to whiteness–are inevitably met with suspicion, anger, fear, and guilt (witness white anger over the President’s racial self-identification). We’re expected to have a conversation on race and racism that centers and assuages white emotions, to speak about race in terms and frameworks that are neither by, for, or ultimately about us. What little space we’re afforded in mainstream media is taken up with 101-level education, demands that we justify our existence, and prove the merit of our perspectives and accomplishments beyond the shadow of a doubt. White critics and, occasionally, other people of color, often feel a casual entitlement to pass judgment on PoC narratives of our own experiences, and on our scholarship, without putting in the effort to learn about or engage with either.
This is so fucking important.
(via thegoddamazon)So very relevant to my life and an article my friend recently had published on her experiences as a black woman in my predominantly white city.