Psychology Constructs the Female

If you haven’t figured it out already, or if you are new to visiting this list I should probably say this before plunging into the following.  I’m a Second Wave radical feminist of the pre-cultural feminist type.  What I am talking about in the following has little or nothing to do with the post-modern deconstructiionalist arguments so popular today and has everything to do with thinking from when feminism was about liberation and not a Ph.D. program in Women’s Studies or the more current “Gender Studies”

I’ve been accused of being an essentialist for my reducing, stripping bare of social role considerations the terms man and woman/boy and girl.  For me a man is an adult male human being and a woman is an adult female human being.  Boy and girl are the child male and female human being.

I came out in 1969.  Because of the time frame and because I was politically radical this meant that transition was as much about consciousness raising and learning feminism as it was about learning femininity in order to assimilate into the expected adult female social roles which we called sex roles as gender had not risen to the hegemonic position it occupies today.

This meant reading all the feminist works of the era.  Including some that had more than a small degree of criticism of transsexuality.

I was very taken with Simone de Beauvoir and her book “The Second Sex” where she lays out the systematic construction of misogyny and the structures that support it.

How women are turned into other and stripped of a common shared humaness in the process.  Lucy Parsons observed, “We are the slaves of slaves. We are exploited more ruthlessly than men.” which is another way of saying “Woman is the nigger of the world.”

Setting of women as apart from men with men being seen as normal and women as abnormal lalows women to be reduced to property never even possessing their own last name and robbed of the connection with the mother.

Religion, especially the desert three but basically all religions set man as good and godlike even proclaiming the heavenly father, god the father etc.  They set woman as evil.  If men rape it is because like Eve women tempt him to do so.

If men murder their wives, or betray them with another woman, abuse them, debase them or desert them it is the woman’s fault.  she drove him to it.  Even when he is a right wing closet fag hitting on a cop in an airport restroom.

I took the title for this piece from a very popular feminist work from 1968 by Naomi Weisstein that apeared in numerous feminist anthologies and which I have tracked down on line.

It is an implicit assumption that the area of psychology which concerns itself with personality has the onerous but necessary task of describing the limits of human possibility. Thus when we are about to consider the liberation of women, we naturally look to psychology to tell us what “true” liberation would mean: what would give women the freedom to fulfill their own intrinsic natures. Psychologists have set about describing the true natures of women with a certainty and a sense of their own infallibility rarely found in the secular world. Bruno Bettelheim, of the University of Chicago, tells us (1965) that “we must start with the realization that, as much as women want to be good scientists or engineers, they want first and foremost to be womanly companions of men and to be mothers.’ Erik Erikson of Harvard University (1964), upon noting that young women often ask whether they can “have an identity before they know whom they will marry, and for whom they will make a home”, explains somewhat elegiacaly that “much of a young woman’s identity is already defined in her kind of attractiveness and in the selectivity of her search for the man (or men) by whom she wishes to be sought…” Mature womanly fulfillment, for Erikson, rests on the fact that a woman’s “somatic design harbors an ‘inner space’ destined to bear the offspring of chosen men, and with it, a biological, psychological and ethical commitment to take care of human infancy.” Some psychiatrists even see the acceptance of woman’s role by women as a solution to societal problems. “Woman is nurturance…,” writes Joseph Rheingold (1964), a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, “anatomy decrees the life of a woman… when women grow up without dread of their biological functions and without subversion by feminist doctrine, and therefore enter upon motherhood with a sense of fulfillment and altruistic sentiment, we shall attain the goal of a good life and a secure world in which to live it.” (p. 714)

The entire article is well worth the read and will give insight into how those same psychiatrists pathologize WBTs.  For that is what they do.  If men are the standard by which others are judged and women who want the same rights and privileges that are shared by all men as a result of male privilege are deemed to be maladjusted then imagine how these same insecure men judge people with transsexualism who are female identified and willing to give up some if not all of that assumed male privilege.

This is not something male identified men are willing to do since it means surrendering humanity which by the very construct of the term “mankind” is assumed to be male.  In terms of their point of view (but not necessarily ours) this means going from being human to being other.

Valerie Solanis may have been driven totally crazy by life in an absolutely misogynistic society but her work Scum Manifesto stands as a classic full with pithy if often uncomfortable truths.

The affect of fatherhood on males, specifically, is to make them `Men’, that is, highly defensive of all impulses to passivity, faggotry, and of desires to be female. Every boy wants to imitate his mother, be her, fuse with her, but Daddy forbids this; he is the mother; he gets to fuse with her. So he tells the boy, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, to not be a sissy, to act like a `Man’. The boy, scared shitless of and `respecting’ his father, complies, and becomes just like Daddy, that model of `Man’-hood, the all-American ideal — the well-behaved heterosexual dullard.

The effect of fatherhood on females is to make them male — dependent, passive, domestic, animalistic, insecure, approval and security seekers, cowardly, humble, `respectful’ of authorities and men, closed, not fully responsive, half-dead, trivial, dull, conventional, flattened-out and thoroughly contemptible. Daddy’s Girl, always tense and fearful, uncool, unanalytical, lacking objectivity, appraises Daddy, and thereafter, other men, against a background of fear (`respect’) and is not only unable to see the empty shell behind the facade, but accepts the male definition of himself as superior, as a female, and of herself, as inferior, as a male, which, thanks to Daddy, she really is.

Solanas makes an observation that more clearly sums up the fiction written by Bailey and Blanchard than almost any argument I’ve seen.  “To be sure he’s a `Man’, the male must see to it that the female be clearly a `Woman’, the opposite of a `Man’, that is, the female must act like a faggot.”

Let us assume, and I point out this is not a longshot assumption that Bailey is a fag.  Not an out and proud gay man but a weaselly insecure little closet case fag.  Actually I think his book The Man who would be Queen is somewhat autobiographical and he is projecting his own desires and forbidden fantasies on to others but is his idea of androphilic transsexuals not a matter of thinking women are really faggots?

That is to say dick crazy, mindless fembots more concerned with the trivial matters of queenish femininity than actually being 21st century actual women.  And from there are his AGP transsexuals not in s0me ways maligned for having meaningful careers in something other than the ghettos of sex work and the pink collar world?

When one strips away the anecdotal based unsubstantiated lies and phony studies that make up Bailey and Blanchards work at the core of their work are the same assumptions attacked by de Beauvoir and Weisstein and the name for those assumptions is misogyny.

Misogyny the pathology that should be considered the father of all pathologies and the one never treated as such.

I do not use the term “classic transsexual”.  Nor do I use HBS. I, in fact abhor the term (classic transsexual) as it makes me think of the writings of Benjamin and other early theorizers who wrote so glowingly of what “perfect women” we made and how we married and adopted children etc.  In short they saw in us the perfect creation of their male imagined woman.

Julia Serano uses the term “sexualize” I perfer the term exociticized with the same connotations one find projected upon at various times Asian women, Latina, European women.  The idea that we really know how to please a man and are willing, pliant sub-human fembots unlike those nasty feminist educated women.

Here in lies some of the reality behind part of what Janice Raymond was saying for the doctors did put forth that we were the ideal women as far as so many men were concerned.

Most of these doctors were living in a world of their projected male fantasies.

Those of us who got our SRS in the early days often found our seeking of legitimacy subverted by the denial of paper work vital to our assimilation or treatment by the law that ghettoized our lives.

Often times it was easier to live in less hostile spaces only to be condemned by those lucky few who managed to slip into the feminine mystique.

Some of our critics have pointed to the high rate of lesbianism as a sign of pathology.  They claim “classic transsexual” or most young emergers like men.

I work retail.  I see the pushing on girls barely out of infancy the mandatory heteronormativity.  The breaking of their common humanity into femininity.  In part feminists are right and WBTs do miss out on that socialization from the cradle and as a result we are less indoctrinated towards compulsory heterosexuality.  As Tina puts it, “How are we supposed to love men when males have been the authors of so much abuse that we endured growing up.”

One of the Beats, either Corso or Ferlinghetti was asked why there were so few women in the Beat Movement and he pointed out that women’s parent could have them committed to insane asylums even as adults for their non-conformist behavior and there they could be subjected to electro shock treatment and even lobotomy.

These misogynistic psychiatrists consider us mentally ill for breaking their insane misogynistic rules.

It becomes a catch 22 for us as they have declared our sanity suspect and we are forced to prove it to not be suspect when they get to make the rules that determine our sanity.

And they are a bunch of misogynistic lunatics.

6 Responses to “Psychology Constructs the Female”

  1. Sharon Gaughan Says:

    Male authority represses female sexuality, then claims an unrealistically low incidence of lesbianism.

    Perhaps there are fewer of us post-ops in the closet. Most are heterosexual, after all, but the statistically stronger minority that comes out as lesbian may be closer to reality.

    Consider what would happen if natal women were freer to live their orientation.

    There may not be, in reality, such a big difference among females of different history after all.


  2. Susanna Boudrie Says:

    Hi Suzy

    As usual you have written an excellent piece.

    I agree with almost every aspect of it. However, I think this line it not fully correct: “In part feminists are right and WBTs do miss out on that socialization from the cradle and as a result we are less indoctrinated towards compulsory heterosexuality.”

    In my view many people with transsexualism actually partly socialize as women from the the craddle; taking care of their kins; an alcoholic mother, etc.

    Actually, I would say that most men socialize as men and most women as women; but some men socialize (partly) as women and some women (partly) as men.



  3. Suzan Says:

    I really don’t think that is true. I think we socialize as transkids. Learning from the cultural soup but missing out on the sort of indoctrination that I see between parents and children at the store where I work.

    Perhaps it has been the emergence of gay and lesbian or even of transsexual and transgender but there has been a definite backlash against the “free to be” non-sexist child rearing of the 1970s.

    Gender panic has obvious heteronormative indoctrination hitting kids as young as toddlers.

    I think we are not indoctrinated to love men or to be sexually attracted to them. Add to that Tina’s observation about men being the authors of so much of our pain.

    Girls/women are open to giving love and affection to both sexes even if girls and women are valued less so there is a natural affection towards both. Political lesbianism or bisexuality?

    A lot of this makes more sense than the perversifying of the large percentage of WBTs who are lesbian or bisexual.

  4. Lisa Jain Thompson Says:

    What I learned as a transkid:

    1. What I needed to do to avoid getting beat up.

    2. How to pretend to be male (how to act — see 1 above).

    3, How not to let on how smart I was (see 1 & 2 above).

    Who I preferred as a sexual partner came naturally from within without intellectualizing it. Later, once I transitioned and could only be myself, I found the menu had a much wider selection but still did not include gay guys.

  5. Susanna Boudrie Says:

    Hi Suzy

    I said partly; and I didn’t think primarily about loving men


    • Suzan Says:

      I think socialization is a life-long process that goes far beyond indoctrination.

      Heternormativity is the process that erases the presence of L/G people from the books/film/television elements of learning via contact with.

      It is the indoctrination aspect that gets over ridden by people born different.

      I sort of view transition as becoming part of a culture one has studied from childhood and is finally becoming a member of. There is much that one has learned second hand and after entering the process one starts learning through personal experience.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: