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Do some trans women transition because being a man is too hard, confused internet celebrity wonders

Men having a hard time at the White House

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By David Futrelle

Yesterday, the acid-loving, frequently-naked internet personality Aella — perhaps best known for a series of Reddit “Gone Wild” posts involving garden gnomes — had some thoughts on trans women she decided to share on Twitter. This was perhaps not the best idea, as these were the thoughts:

She doubled down on these very bad ideas in the responses to her tweet:

This is the sort of misogynistic and transmisogynistic garbage I’ve come to expect from incels and MRAs, who sometimes fantasize about “becoming a girl” (or at least identifying as one) because being a man is so darn hard. It’s just a teensy bit weird to hear it coming from a woman, albeit one who doesn’t see herself as a feminist.

H/T — Twitter’s @LLW902, whose tweet alerted me to Aella’s comments

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Definitely not Steve
Definitely not Steve
11 months ago

Oh, yeah, nothing fixes the problem of feeling down about how mediocre your life and accomplishments are like voluntarily taking up an identity that is regularly the target of harassment and hatred and strangers volunteering their opinions of how terrible and bad you are.

The standards of “success” for straight white men are so damn low.

Naglfar
Naglfar
11 months ago

Who exactly is this person? I haven’t heard of her, but judging from this she doesn’t seem to really know what she ‘s talking about. I haven’t transitioned yet (for various financial and social reasons) but when I do it‘s not about how easy or hard it is to be a certain gender. It’s because I identify as a woman and want my body to match.

…and I check her Twitter to see that she is complaining that she needs to block “radical trans” activists b/c trans people are (understandably) pissed at her. She may not be a feminist, but her rhetoric sounds straight up like a TERF.
She also linked to a subreddit for detransitioners, which is obviously going to strike some nerves. I’m sure plenty of people detransition for perfectly valid reasons, but it seems like a significant number of high profile detransitioners (like James Shupe, Blaire White, etc) then turn around and say that because they weren’t actually trans that trans people don’t exist, or start badmouthing the trans community a dozen ways. Or become scaremongering conservative spokespeople against trans folks. Or straight up TERFs.

Hippodameia
Hippodameia
11 months ago

The stupid just never ends.

Bakunin
Bakunin
11 months ago

@Naglfar
Has Blair detransitioned? I thought she was just an asshole

Naglfar
Naglfar
11 months ago

@Bakunin
Last I heard, she was doing so. Her Wikipedia page says so, and she put out a video called “I’m Detransitioning.” I didn’t watch it, because I didn’t want to suffer through it. I’m just guessing based off of the title.

She’s definitely an asshole. That I know for sure.

EDIT: Forced myself to watch the first 2 minutes of the video. She’s getting off hormones to try to make sperm. Not sure if that counts as detransitioning, but she apparently thinks so.

Otrame
Otrame
11 months ago

Dear Aella,

I do not give a rotten damn why a person chooses to transition. It ain’t none of my business.

P. S. It ain’t none of your business either.

Hippodameia
Hippodameia
11 months ago

TERF is an alt-right gateway drug.

Naglfar
Naglfar
11 months ago

@Hippodameia
Did you see what happened earlier that David RTed? A TERF on Twitter asked for a replacement term because we figured out what “Gender Critical” meant, and someone suggested “Gender Realist.” They’re not a gateway drug to the alt right, they’re a part of it on par with the others.

Naglfar
Naglfar
11 months ago

Speaking of TERFs, Graham Linehan appears to have started a new platform for TERFs called Glindr. Not sure if it’s a joke or serious. A possible competitor to Spinster for the Nazi-adjacent transphobic asshat demographic. The next time someone says TERF is a “gendered slur” I will point out that one of the most noxious ones is a cis white man.

Bina
11 months ago

@Definitely not Steve:

Oh, yeah, nothing fixes the problem of feeling down about how mediocre your life and accomplishments are like voluntarily taking up an identity that is regularly the target of harassment and hatred and strangers volunteering their opinions of how terrible and bad you are.

The standards of “success” for straight white men are so damn low.

Came here to say that being (cis, het, white, etc.) male really is life on the easy setting. If you can’t hack that, you sure as hell aren’t cut out for life as a trans woman.

(Or a cis woman either, for that matter.)

NautaliaC
NautaliaC
11 months ago

Long time lurker to the site. As a trans woman I had to respond to this since my experience transitioning has raised a few questions adjacent to the concern of “what ifs.” Two years on and I still imagine “what if I did not transition?” I suppose I would have been miserable like I was for most of my life. When I came out and started this journey I did think about some of the straight male privilege I abandoned, but that thought was irrelevant to my happiness which I felt is divorced from the myriad of safety and conveniences men are offered.
This in reverse? I cannot fathom thinking that it was difficult as a man because I was, well, not male. Aella’s argument seems to assume that trans women before coming out were upset over what maleness entailed rather than being forced to express a gender we are not due to happenstance.
I identify as female, so clearly I’m more interested in issues involving women than I am with the so-called struggles of men that MRAs, incels, et al harp on.
First post and it was on my phone, I hope it suffices!

Definitely not Steve
Definitely not Steve
11 months ago

@Bina,

If you can’t hack that, you sure as hell aren’t cut out for life as a trans woman.

I get what you’re saying, but I’d be a bit careful with how you choose your words here. There are lots of cis hetero white men who, for one reason or another, struggle. It could be financial struggle (late-stage capitalism is not kind to the poor), mental health struggle, physical health struggle, or emotional struggle (life happens to everyone). Life is hard for lots of people.

But those difficulties never happen because a person is white, straight, or male, and they are usually more manageable because of it.

Hope that doesn’t come across as tone-policing, it isn’t meant to be.

numerobis
numerobis
11 months ago

Can’t be a TERF if you’re not a feminist! There’s always a gotcha.

In other news: A friend came out as a woman today; so happy for her!

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
11 months ago

You see people that never even started to read about transition in that kind of post.

When I asked a therapist, he said me that, for a basis, it was highly adviced to change job and city, just to limit the emotional damage of seeing so many people turn against you. (because the gender dysphoria in me in only cyclical and probably not *that* strong, I backed out)

Also, the society is *highly* tolerant to white males that don’t behave like traditional white male. I never have seen one be chided because being not being toned enough. The only point that seem easier is that a women can dress like a men with less problem than a men can wear a dress or skirt (I mean, outside of kilt and equivalent). But that’s probably a false equivalency since nowaday men’s clothes are effectively androgenous clothes.

Naglfar
Naglfar
11 months ago

@numerobis

Can’t be a TERF if you’re not a feminist! There’s always a gotcha.

A better way to say it would be that someone can’t be a TERF if they don’t call themself a feminist. TERFs aren’t actually feminists for the most part. There are a few who actually do in some ways act like feminists (e.g. Meghan Murphy), but they are the exception, not the rule. Most TERFs don’t even do anything feminist, they just co opt the rhetoric for their own ends, hence the proposed alternative term “fauxminist.”

@NautaliaC

I identify as female, so clearly I’m more interested in issues involving women than I am with the so-called struggles of men that MRAs, incels, et al harp on.

Same here. Even before I fully understood that I was trans I cared far more about women’s issues. That also could have something to do with the fact that in our society women face many more issues, so I’d be more inclined to focus on those issues.

Moggie
Moggie
11 months ago

Person raised fundie has messed up ideas about gender: film at 11.

After reading that Daily Dot profile, I think she’s on a journey away from an abusive, cult-like upbringing. Maybe she’ll make it all the way to being a decent person eventually.

K.
K.
11 months ago

I’m partial to calling them FARTs — Feminist Appropriating Regressive Transphobes.

(or “assholes”)

Shadowplay
11 months ago

@Otrame

I do not give a rotten damn why a person chooses to transition. It ain’t none of my business.

Word.

Unless it’s a mate transitioning. They’ll tell you why, in that case. Well, seems like more telling themselves, really. Not much need to do more than listen carefully and not dob your foot in it.

StaceySmartyPantsTwiceRemoved
StaceySmartyPantsTwiceRemoved
11 months ago

Even before I fully understood that I was trans I cared far more about women’s issues. That also could have something to do with the fact that in our society women face many more issues, so I’d be more inclined to focus on those issues.

Women do face more issues. It amazes and saddens me how in so many areas womens’ work is devalued. I read about how patriarchy-dominated talk always said housework isn’t real work but it’s more than that. Women’s work in the service industry isn’t seen as “real” and also if your work is creative and you’re a woman they will infantilize it as “she’s just playing” I think. Like work I do that I enjoy and that inspires me isn’t real because it’s a woman doing it and enjoying it. But my whole life I have used creativity as a form of resistance.

Catalpa
Catalpa
11 months ago

The only point that seem easier is that a women can dress like a men with less problem than a men can wear a dress or skirt

That’s because female-coded things are seen as being lesser in our society.

And also because women fought long and hard for the right to wear trousers. We have it easier now because the generations before us fought. I’d support men fighting for the right to wear female-coded apparel, but the vast majority won’t because female coded things are considered lesser.

WhiskeyTagngoFoxtrot
WhiskeyTagngoFoxtrot
11 months ago

Interesting, my ladyfirend and I were talking about something kind of similar yesterday.

I identify as genderqueer and, in thinking about it before, I’ve realized that part of the reason may be because I’ve absorbed too many stereotypes about what it is, or means, or “how to be” a “man” and, as I don’t really fit almost any of those, the label just doesn’t feel right to me.

Never really have any dysphoria to speak of, I’m ok with sex, it’s strictly identity in relation to being labeled “man” simply because of how I present

*Note- Nothing said here is meant to apply to anyone but me, I only speak for/about myself

Citerior Motive
Citerior Motive
11 months ago

She may not be a feminist, but her rhetoric sounds straight up like a TERF.

Not being a feminist is exactly like a TERF, yes.

Naglfar
Naglfar
11 months ago

@Citerior Motive

Not being a feminist is exactly like a TERF

True. I could have phrased better by saying that she may not self-identify as a feminist but she sounds like a TERF. Practically the only thing distinguishing TERFs from other assorted alt-rightists is that they call themselves feminists even though they actually aren’t.

StaceySmartyPantsTwiceRemoved
StaceySmartyPantsTwiceRemoved
11 months ago

Reading these inspired me to write today (in my journal I mean) about the vitality of women’s ability to choose how we express ourselves.

rv97
rv97
11 months ago

@Stacey

That’s great to read, but as someone who is struggling with both gender issues (as someone born with typical XY body parts) and who is rather vulnerable to TERFs’ ideology, IDK if I can say the same thing.

Michael Suttkus, II
Michael Suttkus, II
11 months ago

Also, the society is *highly* tolerant to white males that don’t behave like traditional white male.

Try being a white male who likes to cross stitch. Society really likes its boxes. Society may have more space in the box white males are supposed to fit into than it does for other genders and races, but that doesn’t mean they like people getting out of the boxes.

Citerior Motive
Citerior Motive
11 months ago

True. I could have phrased better by saying that she may not self-identify as a feminist but she sounds like a TERF.

I was just being contrary. I knew what you meant. ☺

Shadowplay
11 months ago

Try being a white male who likes to cross stitch

I have.

And who likes to sew, and embroider, and knit, and even quilt.

No one’s ever said a word. (Apart from “Oh, neat, can you make me one?”)

Demonhype
11 months ago

@Shadowplay:

May depend on who one is talking to and where they are (geographical culture). If you’re rural or in the deep south, you might get more flak than in other places.

I mean, I’ve had plenty of people in my rural area express horror and disgust at man-bun hairstyles, then express the same horror and disgust at me for thinking there’s nothing wrong with them and im glad dudes with long hair have more options on a hot day than “loose or in a low nape-of-neck ponytail that does nothing to cool you down”. Speaking from.experience as a woman who, until recently, had super-long hair and was glad to be able to put it up in a myriad of ways without getting crap for it.

I suspect those people who raged about man-buns were more gender essentialist and wanted any man who failed to have a crew cut to suffer heat exhaustion and, eventually, give up and just shave his head so he looks like a “proper” man, and resented anything that allowed such men to enjoy long hair and comfort simultaneously. Partially because most of those people included an opinion that the man-bun wearer in question should just “get a damn proper haircut like a man and stop trying to be a woman/look stupid” in their rants.

But then, there are other areas where few people care about man-buns one way or another.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
11 months ago

@Michael Suttkus, II : try that compared to trying to be a women who drive trucks. Or who develop video games.

People can be mean if you cross stitchs, and even then not all of them will be. People will try to kill or rape you if you’re a women in a men’s activity. I think that qualify as “highly tolerant” at least in comparison.

Seriously : in today society, if you are in-between men and women, it’s seriously easier to come up as a men with girlish interest than as a women with menish interest. One case is people being mean, the other is people trying to physically end you.

Tripoli
Tripoli
11 months ago

Oh man, she definitely got here because it’s an anime trope…

To be clearer, characters who crossdress as another gender, despite their cisgender identity, because gender stereotyping and discrimination in Japan makes hiding as the other gender a safer prospect (in the theory of the story). The plot often then concerns them coming to terms with the seeming contradiction between their actual gender and their apparent presentation. This trope is usually almost exclusively ‘woman crossdresses as man’ in the west (Disney’s rendition of Mulan making a hullabaloo about gender roles, an element not in the original legend, being probably the most famous modern example), but it’s more mixed-gender in Japanese media. These characters show up a lot more frequently than trans characters, but they’re more specifically gender-nonconforming than trans.

Shadowplay
11 months ago

@Demonhype

Eh, could be. Mostly hang out with with soldiers, so not a geographical thing. But it is a self selected (and quite insular) group.

Paireon
Paireon
11 months ago

@Demonhype: Personally I think man-buns only look good on samurai, vikings and other warrior-types, but that’s mere aesthetics (that and I live in mostly-frigid Quebec, so the haircut here is generally associated with the Jersey Shore-esque douchebag and hipster crowds; it’s only hot enough to be a practical affectation 1-2 months a year over here. Not really associated with lack of masculinity though).

Also, yeah no that’s probably a really dumb idea, Aella. To be fair stupid is everywhere, but that level of stupid tends to be conducive to making an appearance in the Darwin Awards.

Pink Haired Old Lady
Pink Haired Old Lady
11 months ago

@Tripoli
I’m not into contemporary anime, but you comment reminded me of RoboTech third generation character Lancer/Yellow Dancer. My vote for sexiest character.

numerobis
numerobis
11 months ago

Paireon: writing from hipster central (the Mile-End), I’ve got to say: there’s no man buns this year. It seems totally out of fashion.

Ohlmann: men who are too girlish can get labeled as homosexual or trans, and then they’re considered fair game for violence in some corners. It’s not nearly so widespread as violence against non-conforming women; it can be just as devastating.

Demonhype
11 months ago

@Paireon:

Yup. It’s just aesthetics. That’s what I tell them when they would demand angrily that I seriously tell them I don’t think it looks stupid. I pointed out that it’s new and we’re not used to it, and anything new is going to look unusual until it doesnt. People also once thought women wearing pants or having hair shorter than shoulder-length looked stupid, but it’s pretty common now.

@Shadowplay:

Yeah, I’d say soldiers are pretty self-selected group! :). There can be variations in opinions on an area though, based on things like “age” or “background” or “religion” or even “military interest/career”. When I was at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, there was a wide similarity in.politics and social values in the Animation major (very progressive) though everyone came from all over and had different stories about the geographical attitudes in their hometowns (even when they didn’t agree with those attitudes). Artists, another insular self-selected group! Lol.

Yet at my small rural-town university, most students even in art majors were hugely right-wing conservative and libertarian pro-business anti-poor types and progressives like me were minority. One teacher tried to have a discussion about street art aka grafitti, and was met at the end of the video with dead silence from.everyone but myself–the one girl who spoke up states it was nothing more than criminal property damage and the others agreed. So it was primarily me and the teacher having a discussion while the rest of the class sat there in stony silence–at AiP, it would have been a lively discussion with most of the students joining in.

Of course, most of the students at AiP were from.poor and lower middle class backgrounds, while the rural school was full of rich kids,many studying on the Daddy scholarship. Either as yet another subdivision within a self-selected insular group!

Demonhype
11 months ago

@numerobis

Omg, I recall a Cracked article by a straight drag queen. He said straight genderqueer and bigender men/cross-dressers are more common than people think, but are even more deeply closeted than the rest because everyone presumes you’re gay, which means you get a ton of unsolicited advances from gay men insisting you can’t really be gay and you’ll realize that if you just bite the bullet and sleep with another man, and that women won’t have anything to do with you because they assume you just want to use them as a beard and will dump them eventually when you come to accept your gayness, and who wants to invest in a relationship they believe is already doomed?

So most just cross-dress in private and hope their gf or wife never find their bras/makeup/etc. Said he was lucky, his gf (now wife) found his but was just glad it wasn’t from.another woman, but that his case is rare and he had been steeling himself for the inevitable break-up and was pleasantly surprised when she ended up staying and supporting his identity.

Which has long been a problem of mine, because I find feminine characteristics in men intensely attractive and am always mocked for being attracted only to men who can “never” find me attractive back and I’m making a fool of myself chasing gay men (I don’t actually “chase” them, but you know how it is when some people equate “being quietly attracted” with “catapulting yourself onto their crank”). Cuz, you know, “every” man who expresses the slightest traditionally feminine characteristic is “always” gay. Groan.

(I know, I know, Cracked. Not what it sounds like. Cracked has gone on a big “life experiences” kick over the years, interviewing people from.different walks of life, usually a marginalized one, to find out how they live, and the comedy is not punching down at the different person they are interviewing but at the circumstances and sometimes on the bigots who make life hard for them–which has come to infuriate some who enjoy more “traditional” comedy stylings and frequently comment on how the “SJWs” have “ruined this site”. Another good one was about how modern culture trains men to hate women, written by a man. One point, which I said for years, was that media trains boys to believe every man is “owed” a supermodel-hot woman regardless of his own qualities and when that inevitably doesnt happen for most guys they get angry.)

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
11 months ago

@Naglfar: Casey Explosion on Twitter has started referring to Linehan as “Papa TERF” and his followers as “Glincels” which is just 😗👌.

As to men transitioning because it’s “too hard” to be a man, based on a casual comparison of the stuff in my bathroom alone versus that found in a woman’s bathroom… yeah, no. I’m only half-joking: when it comes to the relatively trivial stuff like the expectations of the level of grooming men and women should undertake just to do something as commonplace as grocery shopping, men definitely have it easier. And I have no doubt it gets more difficult, not less, the more formal the situation gets. This whole argument trivializes the challenges women, cis and trans, face negotiating the world.

(The SF writer, John Scalzi, once made a blog post about how going through life as a straight white man was akin to playing a video game on the lowest difficulty setting. It’s not that it’s entirely without challenges, but it’s an awful lot easier than others have it. Needless to say, the comments were full of white dudes complaining about it…)

Naglfar
Naglfar
11 months ago

@Cat Mara

This whole argument trivializes the challenges women, cis and trans, face negotiating the world.

Isn’t that half the point of the manosphere? To spin an elaborate fantasy that women and LGBTQIPA+ people and POC have it easy at the expense of cishet white men?

how going through life as a straight white man was akin to playing a video game on the lowest difficulty setting.

In addition, Anita Sarkeesian made a video about that concept.

Snowberry
Snowberry
11 months ago

@Tripoli: Reminds me of Chihiro of Danganronpa. He’s short and rather girly-looking, couldn’t handle being bullied for “not being manly enough”, so cross-dressed and pretended to be a girl. None of the other characters knew he was a boy. When he finally found the courage to just be himself, he was murdered shortly after. Though to be fair, Danganronpa is a series where most of the cast gets murdered and their personal secrets are revealed shortly before or after their death.

A lot of the western audience found this to be a form of trans erasure. From what I’ve heard, the Japanese audience mostly doesn’t see it that way, because crossdressing doesn’t carry the exact same cultural connotations. (I’m skeptical that’s valid, but I’m not familiar enough to judge.)