The Taboo Against Being Pretty or Feminine

I have been spending some time researching the things the  cult of Radical Feminism hate and it is small comfort to know they hate a lot of things besides transsexual and transgender people.

Among other things they hate the idea that people might be born lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or transgender. Just like the Christo-Fascists and rabid right wingers they think it is a matter of choice.

They hate porn and before you say, “That’s okay I too think it is exploitative and disgusting” You should ask a very important question: “Just what do they consider porn?”

You might be surprised to discover they tend to be a serious bunch of book burners and censors who consider fashion magazines porn.

Most of my adult life I’ve worn my hair shoulder length and straight, I have multiple ear piercings.

I have weight issues that moved in after I evicted the drinking issue.

I read magazines like Shape and Women’s Health.  Sometimes I even thumb through fashion magazines even though fashion is rarely for the poor, old, over weight or basically hippie woman.

When I first came out it was so neat to be able to dress the way I wanted to dress even though the first few months I had some pretty abysmal fashion failures.

But I learned and I loved being pretty even if my taste in clothes ran more to hippie chick than catwalk chic.

I was always pretty feminine, even as a transkid.  Not flamboyant femme gay boy feminine, more the quiet moody bookish feminine.

I liked being feminine. It was who I was and I refused to let the bullies and bigots beat it out of me.

Because failure to resist, not resisting the attempts to masculinize me would have been death, a death of who I was.

I was a transkid and people tried to extinguish that innate part of me that said, “I’m a girl no matter what you claim those things between my legs make me, no matter how much you try to punish away my being feminine and wanting to be pretty, besides they have an operation that can change those parts between my legs into girl parts.

When I came out I discovered I had this vast palate, this huge wardrobe of clothes, cosmetics, jewelry that I could use to express my sense of self.

What? I was supposed to be ashamed?

I lost my sense of shame when I started admitting I wanted to have a sex change operation.  I did that for the first time when I was fifteen.

Coming out was a process of shedding guilt and shame. Moments like realizing I was really attracted to certain boys and would suck their cocks or let them fuck me. Coming out was starting to have sex with guys.

Coming out was working up the courage to tell friends I wanted to change sex and become a woman.

Coming out was following through on what I said.

I didn’t realize I still had a lot of guilt and shame until I met Gina and Parrish. They taught me that it was perfectly okay for me to dress provocatively and wear all sorts of make-up if I wanted to.

They gave me permission to drop the guilt and shame about liking pretty sexy clothes and enjoying how men made fools out of themselves when they were around me.

I really didn’t see being sexy, feminine or pretty as somehow being a contradiction to being feminist and wanting equality.

I had read my Emma Goldman and a lot of time Red Emma made a whole lot more sense about a lot of things than Robin Morgan ever did.

I mean sexual freedom and the right to say yes to sex is every bit as important as the right to say no.

Either one without the other isn’t much like freedom at all.

Just as the right to dress in flannel shirts and blue jeans with short cropped hair and no make-up isn’t really about freedom unless you have an equal right to wear a tight shiny dress, heels sparkly jewelry and make up with out being sexual assaulted or slut shamed.

A lot of radical feminists seem every bit as inclined to engage in slut shaming as the most Christo-Fascist of the right wing preachers.

Slut shaming is a serious form of misogyny that denies all women the right to be sexual without being told all sex is rape. Or even all heterosexual sex.

The taboo against being pretty or feminine and exploiting it by working in the sex industry instead of hiding being pretty and sexual working an extremely exploitative straight job that pays minimum wage, presumes that the women who make those choices, haven’t weighed their options and decided to go with the making more money while being exploited.

Either way the radical feminists objectifying women who opt to do sex work rather than a lower paying but equally exploitative job as being pure victims (unless they are TS/TG, then they are the perpetrators of the exploitation) is a form of misogyny.

I may choose to wear Birkenstocks and wonder what some women see in wearing heels.  But it is their choice to make and freedom means they can choose to make that choice.  I know I had some pretty outrageous shoes when I was young.

Too many TS/TG and post-transsexual women who come out in middle age missed the experience of being young pretty and engaging in hormone driven lust.

The censuring of the young, sexy and sometimes slutty behavior of the kids is forgetting the joys of youth mixed perhaps with a touch of jealousy.

Taking on the mantle of a censuring form of feminism is all to easy and smacks of guilt, shame and perhaps jealousy of not having enjoyed that period.

Third Wave Feminism has been a whole lot better at not shaming and bashing pretty and feminine.  I don’t think it accidental that third wave feminism is far more accepting of TS/TG people than second wave, which really wasn’t all that liberating and was kind of meet the new boss, same as the old boss.  In fact the more radical Seventies Era feminism got the more Stalinistic it became. The more Stalinistic it became the fewer women were interested in taking part.

Oddly enough femininity and pretty isn’t really about the patriarchy, just as machismo isn’t really about impressing women.  Both femininity and machismo are ways of impressing and bonding with members of your sex.

Women don’t go out with men to buy underwear and men don’t play sports like football to impress women.

Being transsexual means having a whole bunch of insecurities about things.  Especially if some authority has written some place that enjoying this that and the other makes you not really transsexual but really means you are a gay guy or a transvestite.

I had enough sister who had boyfriends to know that my having sex with my boy friend before surgery didn’t mean I was a gay guy.

Yet I had pangs of concern regarding how some clothes, mostly sexy stuff I bought to wear to concerts and the like really turned me on.

Then one day a girl friend who was married to a doctor called me up and asked if I’d like to go out shopping and to lunch with her.  She was pregnant and suddenly found herself an overflowing C cup instead of her usual small breasted self.  We went to Fredrick’s of Hollywood and she told me she was so turned on trying on bras and looking at herself she wanted to masturbate right then and there.  I acted as look out and she jilled off.

Later I told her that I felt ashamed when I was turned on by certain clothes because some of the books I had read about transsexualism said only transvestites and fetishists were turned on by clothes.

She thought that was the stupidest thing anyone had ever said. She told me men buy those things for us because they want us to be turned on so we will let them fuck us.

Like Gina and Parrish she talked about the self empowerment of choosing to be sexy.

Being pretty or sexy is one of the most democratic forms of privilege, accidentally bestowed upon rich or poor and individuals of any color or nationality. It can be cultivated.

Very often the cultivating of beauty and femininity is a form of female bonding a sharing of the secrets of femininity.

Sometimes that is also taboo because it is some what suspect for a woman to think another woman is pretty or to admire her femininity as though that admiration is sexual and not part part of feminine culture.

It is almost as though being pretty or feminine is being blamed for women being oppressed and controlled. Which if you think about it is sort of like blaming any other trait for which some groups are oppressed as being the real reason for that group’s oppression rather than blaming the oppressor.

Coming Out To Family

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CeCe McDonald

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Transgender teen graduates in Tulsa

I like the happy stories better than the sad ones.  Too often I get caught up in the injustice and the hate crimes.  It’s too easy to forget there is a good side and young transsexual/transgender kids are coming out in school.

Kids are able to go to college now as their true selves.

From New OK:

Published: June 3, 2012

Editor’s note: Katie Hill is a transgender teen from Bixby whose story was chronicled in an award-winning Tulsa World series in May 2011, “Becoming Katie.”

BIXBY — The graduating seniors at Bixby High School walk to their seats in the Mabee Center under a sword salute by the Marine Corps Junior ROTC students of Lt. Col. Randy Hill’s class.

Fashion among Bixby’s senior class girls dictates many wear neon-hued platform stilettos with their Spartan blue graduation gowns and caps.

About one-third of the way through the alphabet, Hill’s daughter, Katie, glides across the stage, and the school administrators offer her a steadying hand down the stairs, as they do for every senior girl — even though Katie is wearing sparkly flat sandals.

No platform heels are needed. At 5-foot-10, she’s tall enough to model or be Miss Universe, if she wanted. (The pageant recently allowed its first transgender competitor.)

Katie takes her seat and waits patiently through “achieve your dreams!” speeches by the principal and three valedictorians, through her peers in A through G of the alphabet. When the time comes, she saunters back to the stage and waits for her name to be called so she can grab her diploma cover and shift the tassel on her mortar board.

“Katie. Rain. Hill.” Applause, and cheers from her family and friends. Like any other graduate.

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Do We Need a Poor People’s Coming-Out Movement?

From Common Dreams:

by Laura Flanders
Published on Sunday, June 3, 2012 by The Nation

Governor Andrew Cuomo says raising the minimum wage in New York is harder than passing marriage equality. Is that true? Is it spin? If we were to say it’s true—is it all about money, or could it be that there’s something we need, namely a coming-out movement about poverty in America?

Democrats in the New York State Assembly have passed a bill to raise the minimum wage from the federal $7.25 to $8.50 an hour. Last week, during a Capitol press conference, the governor said this is probably where the bill is stuck at least for this session. There’s likely to be no passing a minimum wage hike through the Republican-controlled Senate, the issue’s just too divisive, said the governor. Isn’t this the same savvy politician who last year convinced four Senate Republicans to pass a bill legalizing same-sex marriage? Cuomo insisted that this time it’s different.

“This is broader and a deeper divide,” Cuomo said. “Marriage, in some ways, was more of a personal judgment for people on their personal values.

There’s certainly a case to be made that the governor could apply himself more forcefully to the task of raising the wage. (Although the speaker wouldn’t like it, he could for example, hike the wage by order of the state Labor Department.) It’s also true that where politics is concerned, deeply held beliefs are usually less relevant than deep pockets. Most LGBT activists aren’t well-to-do—but some are, and they knew how to use it. The wage-raisers, by contrast, may have the popular will on their side, but they’re up against an entire Chamber of Commerce–funded army of opinion shapers, propagandists and paid-off politicians who argue that living wages lead to dead business. They’re up against the well financed spin, and they’re up against the already freaked-out business owners who believe it.

All that having been said, can we talk for a moment about the words “personal” and “poverty”? “Silence=Death,” said the movement against AIDS. “Come Out! Come Out!” said the gay liberation movement. The movement for LGBT equality pushed itself from the margins to the mainstream against a tide of powerful politicians and a whole host of big-mouth churches with one simple message: we are your sisters and your brothers. Hollywood and TV helped, but making LGBT lives real took real, personal, coming out: at work, in schools and, yes, in Washington and in state politics.

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The facts are clear. This cruel austerity experiment has failed

From The Guardian UK:

While the human cost of economic stupidity is all too visible, the world’s leaders are paralysed by their dogma, Saturday 2 June 2012

Last week was an awesome warning of where go-it-alone austerity can lead. It produced some brutal evidence of where we end up when we place finance above economy and society. The markets are now betting not just on the break-up of the euro but on the arrival of a new economic dark age. The world economy is edging nearer to the abyss, and policymakers, none more than in Britain, are paralysed by the stupidities of their home-spun economics. Yanis Varoufakis, ex-speechwriter for former Greek prime minister George Papandreou and now an economics professor in the US, said last week: “There is precisely zero chance of austerity working. It is the same as thinking you can escape from gravity by waving your arms up and down.”

It could hardly be more sobering. Money has flooded out of Spain, Greece and the peripheral European economies. Signs of the crisis range from Athen’s soup kitchens to Spain‘s crowds of indignados protesting in the streets against austerity and a broken capitalism. Youth unemployment is sky-high. Less visible is the avalanche of money flowing into hoped-for safe havens in the US, Germany and even Britain. The last time the British government could sell government bonds at interest rates as low as today’s was in the early 1700s.

George Osborne and his acolytes proclaim this as a triumph of the government’s economic policies. They are gravely mistaken. Rather it portends fears that the international economic order may collapse because if so many countries are simultaneously pursuing austerity, where’s growth to come from?

Virtually everywhere you look there are signs of a weakening world economy. At home, manufacturing suffered its biggest plunge for three years, and this in an economy already suffering its longest depression since the 19th century. American jobs growth is petering out. Unemployment in Europe averages 11%. Even China witnessed a sharp fall away in factory activity in May.

Yet none of this should be a surprise. We live in the aftermath of one of the biggest financial and intellectual mistakes ever made. For a generation the world, with the London/New York financial axis at its heart, surrendered to the specious theory that lending and financial contracts could grow many times faster than the underlying economy. There was a blind belief that in a free market banks could not make mistakes. Free markets didn’t make mistakes – only clumsy bureaucratic states made economic mistakes. Or so they said. Financial alchemists, guided by the maxims of free market fundamentalism, could make no such errors.

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Bolivia’s president talks of nationalizing all natural resources

From Raw Story:

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, June 3, 2012

TIQUIPAYA, Bolivia — Bolivia’s leftist President Evo Morales, who has nationalized some utility companies, raised the possibility Sunday of making all natural resource-related industries property of the state.

“Another policy ought to be how we recover, or nationalize, all natural resources, so they are in the people’s hands under state administration,” Morales told a social summit.

The socialist leader of South America’s poorest nation said that “utilities (such as electricity, water and telecommunications) never should be private businesses.”

He said that since the state took over the telecom industry under his government, coverage has expanded to rural areas that had never been connected before.

Bolivia, now a key source of lithium used to make batteries for electric cars and laptops, is a key ally of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, Latin America’s highest-profile leftist leader.

Morales has imitated Chavez’s policy of nationalizing firms deemed strategic, and seeking to squeeze more revenue out of state assets.

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Paul Krugman on Newsnight, 30 May 2012

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Paul Krugman: ‘I’m sick of being Cassandra. I’d like to win for once’

From The Guardian UK:

The American economist has a plan to escape the financial crisis, and it doesn’t involve austerity measures or deregulating the banks. But will policy-makers, including our coalition government, heed his advice?, Sunday 3 June 2012

By now you will probably have read an awful lot about the financial crisis. Perhaps I’ve been reading all the wrong stuff, but until now I hadn’t managed to find answers to the most puzzling questions. If the crash of 2008 was preceded by an era of unprecedented prosperity, how come most of the people I know weren’t earning much?

Deregulation of financial services was supposed to have made us all better off, so why did most of us have to live off credit to keep up? Now that it has all gone wrong, and everyone agrees we’re in the worst crisis since the Great Depression, why aren’t we following the lessons we learned in the 1930s?

President Obama is the only world leader who has attempted a Keynesian stimulus programme. Why has it been only minimally effective? Why do most other western leaders still insist the only way out is to tighten our belts and pay off our debts, when that clearly isn’t working either? And how come the bankers, credit agencies and bond traders are still treated with cowed reverence – don’t frighten the markets! – when they got us into this mess?
These mysteries were beginning to make me feel as if I must be going mad – but since reading Paul Krugman‘s new book, I fear I’m in danger instead of becoming a bore. It’s the sort of book you wish were compulsory reading, and want to quote to anyone who’ll listen, because End This Depression Now! provides a comprehensive narrative of how we have ended up doing the opposite of what logic and history tell us we must do to get out of this crisis.

Its author is a Nobel prize-winning economist who writes a column in the New York Times and teaches economics at Princeton University. An authority on John Maynard Keynes, Krugman wrote a book in 1999 called The Return of Depression Economics, largely about the Japanese slump, which drew ominous parallels between Japan’s economic strategy and the pre-New Deal policies of the early 30s that turned a recession into catastrophic depression. At the time, unsurprisingly, most western economists weren’t bowled over; in thrall to the seemingly endless boom, the Great Depression looked to them to be more or less irrelevant. Krugman’s latest book will be much harder to ignore.

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Are Christian Fundamentalists Teaching Genocide in Our Schools?

From Alternet:

Thanks to Good News Clubs, evangelism in schools is already subverting the separation of church and state. Now they’re justifying the murder of nonbelievers.

By Katherine Stewart
May 31, 2012

The Bible has thousands of passages that may serve as the basis for instruction and inspiration. Not all of them are appropriate in all circumstances.

The story of Saul and the Amalekites is a case in point. It’s not a pretty story, and it is often used by people who don’t intend to do pretty things. In the book of 1 Samuel (15:3), God said to Saul:

“Now go, attack the Amalekites, and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.”

Saul dutifully exterminated the women, the children, the babies and all of the men – but then he spared the king. He also saved some of the tastier looking calves and lambs. God was furious with him for his failure to finish the job.

The story of the Amalekites has been used to justify genocide throughout the ages. According to Pennsylvania State University Professor Philip Jenkins, a contributing editor for the American Conservative, the Puritans used this passage when they wanted to get rid of the Native American tribes. Catholics used it against Protestants, Protestants against Catholics. “In Rwanda in 1994, Hutu preachers invoked King Saul’s memory to justify the total slaughter of their Tutsi neighbors,” writes Jenkins in his 2011 book, Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can’t Ignore the Bible’s Violent Verses (HarperCollins).

This fall, more than 100,000 American public school children, ranging in age from four to 12, are scheduled to receive instruction in the lessons of Saul and the Amalekites in the comfort of their own public school classrooms. The instruction, which features in the second week of a weekly “Bible study” course, will come from the Good News Club, an after-school program sponsored by a group called the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). The aim of the CEF is to convert young children to a fundamentalist form of the Christian faith and recruit their peers to the club.

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The Legend of the Spat-Upon Veteran

Most of the abuse leveled at veterans returning from Vietnam was done by groups like the American Legion and was directed at the Winter Soldiers, VVAW and those who threw their medals back.

The most recent incidence of spitting on Vietnam War Veterans occurred in 2004 when the Republican “Swift Boat” campaign figuratively speaking spit on decorated Vietnam War Vet, John Kerry.

From Common Dreams:

by David Sirota
Published on Friday, June 1, 2012 by

Out of all the status-quo-sustaining fables we create out of military history, none are as enduring as Vietnam War myths. Desperate to cobble a pro-war cautionary tale out of a blood-soaked tragedy, we keep reimagining the loss in Southeast Asia not as a policy failure but as the product of an America that dishonored returning troops.

Incessantly echoed by Hollywood and Washington since the concurrent successes of the Rambo and Reagan franchises, this legend was the central theme of President Obama’s Memorial Day speech kicking off the government’s commemoration of the Vietnam conflict.

“You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor,” he told veterans. “You came home and sometimes were denigrated, when you should have been celebrated. It was a national shame, a disgrace that should have never happened.”

It’s undeniable that chronic underfunding of the Veterans Administration unduly harmed Vietnam-era soldiers. However, that lamentable failure was not what Obama was referring to. As the president who escalated the Vietnam-esque war in Afghanistan, he was making a larger argument. Deliberately parroting Rambo’s claim about “a quiet war against all the soldiers returning,” he was asserting that America as a whole spat on soldiers when they came home — even though there’s no proof that this happened on any mass scale.

In his exhaustive book entitled “The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam,” Vietnam vet and Holy Cross professor Jerry Lembcke documents veterans who claim they were spat on by antiwar protestors, but he found no physical evidence (photographs, news reports, etc.) that these transgressions actually occurred. His findings are supported by surveys of his fellow Vietnam veterans as they came home.

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Failed Lila Rose hoax and “PRENDA the pretenda” bill inspire dialogue around sex-selective abortion

From Feministing:

By Lori
May 30, 2012

As Vanessa explained yesterday, the House of Representatives is set vote on the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), legislation that would ban abortion performed based on the fetus’ sex.  The vote was scheduled to happen today, but was pushed to tomorrow at the last minute. You’ll remember that the law would require doctors to report any person seeking an abortion to the authorities if there’s any suspicion the abortion is sex-selective — and if they don’t report them, the doctors themselves could face jail time.

The timing is very auspicious. Live Action, the anti-choice group with a history of staging failed “sting” and hoax operations inside Planned Parenthood, has released their latest missive, and it is also focused on sex-selective abortion. We knew this was coming back in April, when Maya pointed out that Live Action’s stunt attempts are so predictable that they can be debunked in advance. But the video release combined with the timing of the PRENDA bill have managed to inspire a lot of dialogue around sex-selective abortion, much of which I find to be highly important and a necessary part of our reproductive justice movement’s growth.

The gist of that discussion, and the sentiment that I identify strongly with on this issue, is that, in the words of our own Chloe, “sex-selective abortion is not the disease, it’s the symptom.”

Others more or less agree, adding some key insight from their experience dealing with this issue among real women and families.

At RH Reality Check, Planned Parenthood’s Leslie Kantor and Dr. Carolyn Westhoff made similar points when they describe the organization’s position on sex-selective abortion, saying that “Planned Parenthood condemns sex selection motivated by gender bias, and urges leaders to challenge the underlying conditions that lead to these beliefs and practices, including addressing the social, legal, economic, and political conditions that promote gender bias and lead some to value one gender over the other.” [All emphasis added unless noted.]

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Live Action Planned Parenthood ‘Sting’ Videos Are Heavily Edited

From Huffington Post:


The anti-abortion activist group Live Action released two videos this week of Planned Parenthood staffers discussing sex-selective abortions with actors posing as patients, but a side-by-side analysis of one of the edited videos and the original, unedited version of it shows that parts of the conversation were strategically omitted in order to implicate the family planning provider.

The video Live Action released on Thursday, which takes place at a Planned Parenthood clinic in New York City, shows a licensed social worker counseling a supposed patient who says she will abort her fetus if it turns out to be a girl. In the portions of the conversation shown in the video, the counselor discusses the types of tests available to detect the sex of the fetus, tells her “it’s not up to us to decide what is a good or a bad reason for somebody to decide to terminate a pregnancy,” and complies with the woman’s request to schedule an abortion at the end of the appointment.

“Planned Parenthood has built their abortion empire on their belief that any abortion is a good abortion, even if it is motivated by the very discrimination against women that they claim to abhor,” Live Action president Lila Rose said of the video.

“Planned Parenthood’s abortion-first mentality leads them to defend targeting baby girls for extermination,” she added.

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