I’m reading a historical document from the 1960’s, a feminist article by Marlene Dixon, in which she describes what it is to be a woman:
“They know their lives are mutilated, because they see within themselves a promise of creativity and personal integration. Feeling the contradiction between the essentially creative and self-actualizing human being within her, and the cruel and degrading less-than-human role she is compelled to play, a woman begins to perceive the falseness of what her society has forced her to be. And once she perceives this, she knows that she must fight.”
Notice there’s a definition of woman here — a creative and self-actualizing human being forced to play a less-than-human role. Those were the days when it was still possible to define woman, the days when only misogynist gay men denigrated women with the term “breeder” — unlike today when we’re supposed to accept being called “menstruator” or “bleeder” or “vagina-holder” or simply “non-men”.
So I began to wonder what males see when they look at a woman. It’s pretty clear that a significant portion of males don’t see the essentially creative female human striving to actualize her potential, to grow in wisdom through searching for meaning. Trxns males, in particular, show what they see in how they present womanhood. They see only the skin, the costume. They claim a dress, a wig as woman — this is colonization as much as Europeans who, coming to American, saw only empty land, blind to the humans on the land engaged in the perpetual human task of wresting meaning from an infinite universe.
The fact that almost all the male-dominated institutions of the public world accept this means it’s not only trxns males who see women as nothing more than scarecrows, clothing stuffed with straw.
But you know, perception is subjective. What we see is often a reflection of ourselves, rather than the reality. If a man sees woman as straw, is that because he feels himself to be nothing but a sack of the same? If so there is no greater representation of the male lack than the trxns male decked out in makeup and heels.
I think a case can be made that many modern western males are alienated. Capitalist patriarchy has seduced them for generations with roles that are supposed to gratify their egos: jobs that offer status and importance, and the role of “head” of a family. But a lot of men don’t expect to find meaning in work anymore. They’ve become disenchanted. We all know that if you want someone to talk about a job, hire a man, but if you want someone to do the job, hire a woman. And many women have no need anymore of a second head plopped on top of their own. A woman can do anything a man can do, and frequently better. So what role does a man have these days?
Women, on the other hand, have been fuelled by a couple of decades of “grrrrrl-power”, and special programs to boost girls’ self-esteem. Doors are still opening for women, and there’s excitement to being first at something. First high-profile defense attorney, first attorney-general, first neuro-surgeon, first presidential candidate. Women don’t hollow themselves out in pursuit of these goals. We continue to feel emotions, to monitor our inner state, to question whether what we’re doing is giving a sense of fulfillment. One thing patriarchy has not taken from us is an inner life.
But that’s exactly what patriarchy has taken from men. So when there is nothing external for them to hang onto, no job or role that tells them they’re important or valuable, they have nothing else. Straw men, that’s what we’re dealing with. Straw men who hate the women who are excited, dynamic, bravely pushing past barriers. Straw men who have to remind us over and over again that while we may *think* we’re important or successful or valuable, but we’re really just pieces of meat. A little sexual harassment accomplishes that very well.
And for those that don’t have that opportunity, there’s the ultimate ploy. Colonize the costume of “woman”, parade it in front of women to rub our noses in the image you have of us, the image you want us to have of ourselves. If that’s the case, trxns males are jealous of women. And they’re trying to drag us down to their level of hollowness and cynicism.
Finally, trxns males are ditching the responsibilities of manhood, which are the same as those of womanhood — to find some meaning and purpose to life on a tiny planet at the edge of a huge and indifferent universe. And while they disown the responsibilities, they’re holding on to the priviledges.
So there he is — pretending to be a woman as he lords it over us. Because he’s jealous. And because joining women as we conquer worlds would demean him. A sack of straw blowing away in the wind.