Apparently, because I’m “cis” , I am , ergo, “privileged”.
Now, thanks to my little grammatical friend the quotation mark, you’re already getting the hint….
This isn’t going to be an exercise in that- now hackneyed – approval seeking gambit, “privilege checking”.
Firstly, let me define the term “cis”.
Put simply, this is where a person’s “gender identity” is congruent with the one assigned to them, according to their sex*(ie genitals) at birth.
Or , as Wikipedia**puts it, here;
So far so – semantics wise – “neutral”.
Used as simple descriptor , it “could” be a useful shorthand for someone not identifying as transgender, transsexual, or gender queer.
Well. One hasn’t had to spend long in cyberspace, to realise that whilst the term itself is [supposedly]neutral, those using it most frequently are also being somewhat disingenuous when defending that supposed “neutrality”.
Especially when using the term in reference to women, particularly Radical Feminists, and lesbians.***
I’m going to “beg the question of cis privilege” thus –
When a female child is born she’s assigned a gender, that of “girl”.
Without republishing the whole of DeBeauvoir here, this implies the inculcation, aeons old, of certain expectations, behaviours, standards, morals, life chances and opportunities based purely on that which is [gender wise] “woman”.
As previously stated, this is assigned at birth, and it is through this, and all which that implies, that a female “becomes a woman”.
This is how people, born female, have a “shared girlhood”.
Let’s examine then, the physical realities of being female.
This will involve having a vagina, uterus, and ovaries. At puberty, a spurt of hormones will trigger the development of breasts, and the commencement of menstruation.
A female will grow taller, develop body hair , and lay down fat in certain areas, developing what is known as a “womanly” shape.
A female will notice an increase in personal odours, depending on the stage of this, and the menstrual cycle.
All of these will are in preparation for the biological function that is female, child bearing.
What do these physical realities, scientific facts, involve, outside the purely scientific?
Ovaries (and other endocrine glands , but the ovaries are the primary sexual endocrine gland in females)secrete the hormones that trigger puberty, which essentially is the release of the first ovum, and the commencement of the first menstrual period.
Menses can be painful.
Menses can be messy.
Menses will be expensive.
The shedding of blood will involve uterine cramps which can be so painful they render a female incapable of attending school, or work.
Dysmenorrhea. Primary and secondary.
The growth of the endometrium may not be confined to the uterus. When this happens this can cause extreme pain, prostration, and even infertility.
Depending where this tissue develops , other problems can be triggered.
In rare cases, women have developed haemoptysis, from endometrial tissue attaching in the respiratory system.
Imagine that, coughing blood, monthly, until menopause.
The alternative? Treatments that mean the possibility of sacrificing fertility.
The shedding of blood will necessitate an increase in perseverance of personal hygiene.
A female may find she needs to change her underwear more than she’s previously accustomed to.
She will use so called “sanitary” products such as pads or tampons, maybe even underwear liners designed to shield outer clothing from visible blood flow, and perceived odour.
All of these involve financial outlay.
In most countries, these products, however necessary, attract some form of purchase tax.
Then there’s menorrhagia. Excessive blood loss that apart from being messy will often debilitate a female by causing anaemia etc.
This will cost extra in dealing with the blood flow, medications for anaemia, and perceived odour.
Every month until menopause.
So that’s not only messy, but also , over a lifetime, expensive.
This will develop on the mons veneris, and in the armpits, and will increase on the legs and arms.
It may coarsen on the arms and legs, thicken on the head, and increase on the face.
Whilst not exclusive to females this will bring with it – for them – a set of issues exclusive to women.
Female body hair, depending on variations in a given cultural aesthetic , must be eradicated,”controlled”.
Females are not allowed to be “hairy”.
In parts of Asia and the Far East even the least hirsute women often shave their faces. Elsewhere, women use various devices and techniques to eradicate facial hair.
Travel further down the body to the armpit, and this eradication is virtually universal.
When we reach the pubis, again – various cultures and aesthetics dictate how much of this hair will be eradicated.
Increasingly, it’s unusual to encounter pubic hair (in younger women) that is “au-naturel”.
Finally, the legs. Again, eradication of leg hair, from the knee downward,is virtually universal.
In some parts of the world, women are razed of all but their head and eyebrow hair for their wedding night.
In porn, this is virtually universal.
The narrative surrounding this increasingly hangs on the theme of hygiene to justify the denial of the natural in favour of a more porn dictated, bald aesthetic.
Again, this will , over a lifetime , be expensive.
The “womanly” , post pubertal, female shape.
Although breasts exists to lactate and feed infants, they are also a secondary sexual characteristic.
Although adult females store body fat to facilitate fertility, and the gestation and nutrition of an infant , this is also a secondary sexual characteristic.
According to various cultural aesthetics these both must be controlled in various manners, presented in various attire.
A female must conform to cultural norms of body weight, shape, and modesty, however dressed.
She must accept a external narrative surrounding her attire which will indicate her sexual availability , her sexual orientation, her fecundity, political class, cultural and religious identity and her moral standing.
If she steps outside any of these “norms” she will become of figure of discussion, stigma, revulsion and blame.
If she remains within these “norms” she will become a figure of discussion, stigma, revulsion and blame.
Internalised, this narrative can become low self esteem, eating disorders , even fatal anorexia nervosa****
None of this is without cost. Financial as well as physical and psychological.
In short, footbinding, for life.
None. None of the above will depend on , or be altered by, how a female “identifies”.
If she is in possession of a female anatomy she will be told she must not “smell” [vagisil ad anyone?]
If she is in possession of a female anatomy she must not, whatever the cost, get “fat”.
However she identifies.
If she is in possession of a female anatomy, she must somehow simultaneously advertise yet disguise her fecundity , but will be stigmatised according to that “advertisement”or “disguise” [from thong bikini to niqab] should she be raped.
If she is in possession of a female anatomy she is at risk of rape*****. However she’s dressed.
Whatever her sexuality.
However she indicates that sexuality through behaviour or attire.
However she indicates how she “identifies”.
“Gender queer femmes” get raped.
“Butch” lesbians get raped.
Nuns get raped.
Trans-men get raped.
“Cis” women get raped.
Having a female anatomy will get you raped.
Radical Feminists, who eschew gender narratives , get raped.
Accepting gender narratives, and expressing them through internalised misogyny, will not prevent rape.
Accepting gender narratives, consciously or otherwise, whether a feminist or not, will not prevent rape.
So, if “cis” even exists as an entity, given that it protects those in possession of female anatomy who identity as women – from absolutely NOTHING – particularly rape, how the fuck can it EVER be a privilege?
Not for females.
Not even for females who identify to the last electron, as women.
*genetically speaking, a person is either female or male. There are intersex conditions such as AIS and Turner syndrome, plus chromosomal variants, but these are rare. And not to be conflated with transgenderism or transsexuality.
There are also people born genetically normal with ambiguous genitals.
Whilst some regard this ambiguity as intersex, there is debate in medicine whether these are truly intersex individuals, given that genetic testing to determine sex is becoming increasingly common.
The exception to this is Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, whereby babies are born extensibly female, but whose condition will not be discovered until puberty fails to develop.
**I know. Wikepeadia. However , I do not feel using this as a reference is worthy of scorn as it frequently gives a good summary and bullet points of a subject in one package.
Also, doesn’t scorning those who use it imply superior knowledge on the part of the one conferring scorn?
Yes, it can be useful to present pages upon pages of studies and data, but what’s wrong with catering to everyone, rather than a “chosen”cohort?
***lesbians are sexually attracted to the biologically female anatomy. It’s that simple.
Rejecting male anatomy is no more a privilege than the opposite.
Everyone has an absolute right to a sexual veto. This is a human right, not a privilege.
Regardless of how one identifies.
And what does all the kerniption surrounding the exercise of this human RIGHT imply?
****individuals, however they identify, so repulsed by their anatomy- or what it “represents” – for whatever reason, they literally starve to death, or in the case of Karen Carpenter, die of a body weakened by the consequences of disordered eating.
*****Rape – legally speaking- the non consensual insertion of a penis into another person’s body.
Men. Women. Used in this to indicate the gender of a person rather than their biological sex.
Thus, men, in the form of biological males, and trans-men, do get raped.
By biological males who identify as men.
For their female anatomy.
However they identify.
Trans- women get raped for identifying as women.
By males and those identifying as men[though I’ve never heard of a case of a trans-man raping a trans-woman please feel free to correct me]
People identifying as women have inserted their peni into people with a female anatomy and with a male anatomy. When this is non consensual, this is rape, as before.
finally, I’m guessing that some people may conflate having a female anatomy, and accepting it, as a privilege.
I can only guess that they are those who regard any reference to that anatomy, and it’s practical realities[vagina,periods] as “oppressive”.
I can only guess that these are the same people that fantasise of a day when uterus transplants will be available to anyone who wishes.
And what about those individuals who insert tampons in their recti? Some of Whom search rubbish bins for used ones.