Lack of privilege as method of domination


one of the methods of domination is the Hierarchy Method – SILENCING and INVALIDATING – below is an excellent example of this – executed by a woman i encountered a few days ago. i should have seen it coming when she introduced herself to me by saying “Are you implying that…” but i didn’t and the result is below.

(hint: when people start their comment with “are you implying…?” it is never a sincere question. it is a passive aggressive way of masking that they have already decided what you are saying, and that they are not really interested in your answer.)

“Trans women were socialized male, same as I as [a trans man] was socialized female – unless they had extremely progressive parents who picked up on their status as transgender at pre-school age or before, they cannot have avoided being socialized male to an extent that does influence some basic stuff.”

this sparked a nice little illustration of how ‘lack of privilege is used to silence and invalidate’ those one disagrees with. it is repeatedly used by activists in various settings and groups. i have been guilty of doing this on occasion myself.

“Are you aware that you are talking to a trans woman? As a trans man you have privilege over me when it comes to issues like this, so can i please ask that you acknowledge that before you continue to spread the rhetoric that harms women like me.”

on issues of gender and gender socialization i have no privilege over other trans people, nor they over me – on the matter of gender socialization we are absolutely equal. pulling out ‘the privilege card’ here is just a way to suggest that i am violating this ‘poor trans woman by expressing an opinion she disagrees with’. also note how she uses the word ‘rhetoric’ – one definition of ‘rhetoric’ is “language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect, but which is often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content. just another way of saying that what i say is meaningless prattle.

“i am not spreading any rhetoric other than that which is based in my own experience – which i have every right to share anywhere i like.”

claiming the right to express my opinion about the issue, which is based on personal experience, should have concluded the discussion. it didn’t. (hint: arguing against someone else’s personal experience is another way to silence and invalidate them).

“Not if it involves ideas that uplift yourself and your cis wife but marginalize others.

there goes my rights to express my personal experience. i am being accused of using my wife and myself to marginalize her and others, exactly how she doesn’t say, which is another part of the ‘silencing and invalidating’.

mentioning my wife’s cis-status is done to convey the contempt she feels for cis-people and for me who married a cis-person, which is often seen as a traitorous assimilation by some trans people.  my opinion on the issue of gender socialization is invalid because i am married to a cis-woman.

she has to mention my wife, because my wife is the only one present in the discussion that has any privilege and since her argument is shaky she needs every little piece of leverage she can get her hands on.

i do not have any privilege over her in the discussion and i think she is aware of that on some level, however being married to a cis-person is also often seen as the ultimate success and confirmation of one’s gender transition and identity. my status as married to a cis-woman is thus seen as a “privilege”. though this privilege would only exist within the trans community and only if talking to a person with this specific view, not in society as a whole. which thus negates the whole idea that me being married to a cis-person grants me any privilege.

“The rhetoric you are spreading is that trans women are not women because of their “socialization”.

no. not true. i have never said that, thought that or meant that, but i can see how she is reading what i actually say that way – because of these abominable people: TERFs. i include both trans women and trans men in my initial statement in the discussion. i include both trans women and trans men initially because not to do so would be illogical.

if my ‘rhetoric’ harms trans women it must also logically harm trans men – why would i say things that harm myself? that makes no sense, and it makes no sense because the truth is that saying that “Trans women were socialized male, same as I as [a trans man] was socialized female.” doesn’t harm either of us.

not admitting that we are socialized the way we are is harming us, because it means that we have not truly accepted all of who we are and that opens up a window of insecurity through which people like TERF can reach our inner beings. that is extremely harmful.

not admitting that we have been socialized according to our birth-assigned gender is also harmful because it implies this doesn’t need to be changed – it’s not happening, so gender specific treatment of children is OK.

“I think it is for the best that you stay in your lane when topics like this one are being brought up.”

ah. yes. gender politics is not my lane, because i am a trans man.



~ by Henric C. Jensen on April 7, 2018.

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