One of my biggest problems with the Transgender Borg collective is their instance on reifying gender to the point of using adherence to stereotypes as a basis for classifying people as male or female. Indeed the whole ideology of the Transgender Borg is far more restrictive and repressive than anything I had to deal with during the late 1960s and 1970s. So much so that I consider all the reifying of gender and substituting it for “sex” to be highly reactionary and anti-feminist.
No matter how one post-moderns the ideology of transgender it is dependent upon there being rigid gender roles assigned on the basis of sex in order for the idea of identifying with those roles and performing those roles makes one a man or a woman, rather than defining sex based on having a penis or a vagina. The Transgender Borg are as guilty of moving the fence around to make people with penises women when it suits them and shifting to the assigned at birth status to deny post-SRS women female status when it suits them.
The more rigid the gender role requirements of a society the greater an opportunity for genderqueers to transgress those roles. Because of this genderqueers have a self interest in maintaining rigid gender roles which are almost always detrimental to women.
As a feminist I am committed to putting the interests of women first.
Ending the reification of gender is however in the interests of both men and women. Particularly of gay men and lesbians, however ending of the reification of gender is not in the interests of the Transgender Borg Collective.
One of the defenses of the macho ethic is that it encourages men to be tough to protect their families. Even if that were true, you can’t protect if you’re not there.
The Good Men Project / By Hugo Schwyzer
May 8, 2011
A study last month revealed a truth many of us have long suspected: men with “macho” attitudes are more reluctant to seek health care—and as a result experience shorter life expectancy and greater medical problems—than men who hold less traditional views. According to the Rutgers University researchers, men who believed in rigid gender roles (like the idea that women should be homemakers while men work) were 46 percent less likely than their more progressive peers to seek out vital life-saving preventative health care.
We take it for granted today that women outlive men, forgetting that in pre-modern times the reverse was often true. Death in childbirth was more common for women than death in war was for men; in many societies there were more widowers than widows. Think of the wicked stepmothers and single fathers who are ubiquitous in the Grimm fairy tales, and think about what must have happened to Cinderella’s mom. Women have only consistently outlived men since the advent of modern medicine not much more than a century ago.
Men aren’t dying earlier because their bodies are inherently more frail than women’s. Men die earlier because of poor lifestyle choices, most of which are rooted in the destructive rules of traditional masculinity. Two of the most basic of those “man laws” or “guy codes”:
- Don’t display weakness
- Take risks
As any insurance agent will tell you, young men are more likely to be reckless behind the wheel and to die in the resulting accidents. They are also more likely to be murdered, to commit suicide, and to overdose. These statistics hold true across racial and class lines. And though we live in a culture that often sees men as more expendable than women, the chief culprit in so many of these untimely deaths is the demanding macho ethos. From small boys “double-dog-daring” one another to jump off roofs to drag-racing teens, that ethos insists that “real men” are heedless of their safety. The toll in blood and heartbreak is incalculable.
Statistically, men take fewer overt physical risks as they transition into middle age. But aging men aren’t immune from the pressures to live up to the guy code. Where once they proved their toughness by driving fast or playing violent sports, they now measure their manhood by their willingness to ignore pain and other signs of illness. As this new Rutgers study has shown, there’s a direct correlation between the degree to which a man clings to these outdated and destructive rules and his refusal to take care of himself.