if there was a concise way to describe the #notallmen/#yesallwomen conversation, it is that women have to go through shit that men don’t go through, and when a man says that not all men are like that, he stops making the conversation about women, and starts making the conversation about him.
with that in mind, allow me to make this conversation about me.
i am currently for all practical purposes a white male, so i have the most demographic privilege a modern person can have. i aspire not only to be female, which would require a sacrifice of much of that privilege, but a transwoman, which sacrifices a large amount of the remaining privilege. i’ve had one experience with a dude getting too creepy while i was en femme, and that was relatively harmless. i suspect my luck wouldn’t continue.
for me, #yesallwomen is not about shutting up and listening to women’s experiences, nor is it about discussing my own experiences. it’s a terrifying future that someday i will have to face. i feel misplaced empathy with #notallmen, but that’s because i am scared and alienated. the unstoppable force inside me is on a collision course with the immovable object of society.
#yesallwomen is about highlighting what divides us, but the central friction in my life is that divide. the friction is that whenever a women’s issue comes up, i feel as if i’m on both sides, and neither. like i should be able to understand it, to represent it, to speak on it, but i cannot. that’s the misplaced empathy. there are those that understand, and those that can never understand, and then there’s us. what do i conclude? that i want to go out there and get some oppression under my belt? that the real way to foster sisterhood is to start suffering? that’s dumb. i’m all about self-love – there’s no such thing as being “trans enough,” but clinging to my privilege is more than enough to make me feel like i’m without a tribe.
being trans isn’t a choice, but pulling the trigger and transitioning is. so when i say i’m making this important topic about me, i really mean i’m making this about how the #yesallwomen conversation affects aspiring transwomen, because we’re invested in this conversation too. not in a “not all men are men!” way, though that’s the screaming impulse i have to suppress, but because we have to understand what we’re opting into. i’m certain that in the future i will have to throw off my security blanket and embark on a journey that is bound to be more personally fulfilling and self-affirming than anything i’ve ever done before. i will enjoy becoming what i’ve always known myself to be in pursuit of inner peace. but that requires an enormous amount of bravery – similar to the bravery that ladies need to have just to do ordinary shit. in the end the risk is worth the reward, and if millions of other ladies can find a way to live life without getting paralyzed by fear, well, i’m enough.
#notallwomen live with harassment, but that’s only because the reality of #yesallwomen is enough to push us back into the closet. and i guess that’s a kind of indirect harassment.
well maybe not all the way back into the closet, but I am definitely hiding under a coat.