A comment by Muzuzus to my previous post reminded me of this self-portrait complete with moustache and eyebrows. I will not comment beyond saying that she seems to me to have been fully woman.
Weekly round-up and open thread
4 days ago
We thought long and hard about it but eventually decided that hijras must go to the line that we think suits them best. The more feminine ones will be in the ladies' line while the ones who seem more manly will be in with the men.
In itself, homosexuality is as limiting as heterosexuality: the ideal should be to be capable of loving a woman or a man; either, a human being, without feeling fear, restraint, or obligation. ~Simone de Beauvoir
... I was walking among the fires of hell, delighted with the enjoyments of Genius; which to Angels look like torment and insanity
Energy is Eternal Delight.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)
and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and
milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;
and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and
may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.
For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea
e e cummings
Any idea that has a chance of substantially modifying a system must come from a reevaluation or reworking of the fundamental principles of that system (otherwise it would simply be a reshuffling of already existing ideas, as pointed out by Foucault) and, as a result, would contain some element of destabilization. This being something likely to provoke some form of resistance.
The kernel of the argument, of course, is summed up in these two sentences: “There is nothing important that I can do that a woman can’t. This cannot be said in reverse and here is the taproot of male insecurity.” Aside from the obvious problem inherent in this position — what it may or does imply regarding women who cannot have children, or choose not to, as well as that regarding lesbians and, especially, transwomen — there is the debatable proposition of the first sentence. At the very least, one such thing exists: the ability to help another man (perhaps a son, perhaps someone else) come to terms with his body, his sexuality, and his self-concept as embodied, and in terms of such. Women do not experience what it is like to have a body of our type; even for transmen, the experience is limited. Guiding a boy, or a man, through these processes is something that only another man can do.
There are things unique to us, as there are things unique to ciswomen, and to transpeople, and to gays, and to lesbians, and to bisexuals as well; to the dominants, and to the submissives, and to the polyamorous, and to all the others among us. There are important things of which all of us are capable, things specific to us and to ours. Does it do justice to any of us to draw such a distinction, based on a biological capacity, especially when it is one that is less than universal — one that one may, by choice and with intent, refuse to embrace or enact?
My beliefs are based on my experience. When I was a considerably younger man, I was a single parent, bringing up my son from early infancy until he left home. In the early years, when my life seemed to consist of little less than sleepless nights, shitty nappies, teething and vomit as well as the more pleasant things such as giggling, snuggling, watching the joys of discovery and growth etc, the nearest thing I had to a peer group was young mothers. Sociologically and economically, my role at that time was as near as dammit feminine.
But it was not female. Often, the women I was with woulld seem to forget that I was a man and would talk about physical processes and experiences that were impossible for me. Prior to this, I had thought that gender was purely a social construct - but this no longer seemed convincing.
This experience laid the foundations for the rest of my life and has guided all my explorations. It forms the base on which my beliefs now rest. I do not consider that I was in any way a worse parent because of my biological sex - but also could not pretend that, although my current experiences were largely identical with my peers, there were not fundamental and unbridgeable differences.
There are two problems that can arise when looking at these differences. One is to deny their importance and the other is to privilege one group over the other. It is the latter that our culture has done. This is what I was addressing in my post - and suggesting a reason for it. For most of the historical period, women have been seen as those who give birth - this has been seen as their role, and often the only justification for their existence.
Sometimes, as a mark of devotion to a deity, they will be encouraged to forswear this role and become sanctified virgins. Other causes of childlessness have, have generally been seen as either the results of curses or marks of transgression. Whatever the case in an individual women, however, the general rule remains - women’s role is to reproduce. Yet women are inferior and subject to the authority of the male. Thus the male asserts his power over the power of reproduction. It is a wise man who knows his own father, it is said. It is therefore an even wiser thing to do to ensure that only one man has access to the mother. That way, the mystery of reproduction can be domesticated by the man.
This is not the way it has to be. You mention other culture where the gender roles are less rigid and biologically based. I agree. But my feeling is that any suggested remedy for the disease which so afflicts us must take account of where we are - not where we would prefer to be. I may be wrong in my diagnosis of causation, but that does not mean the patient is not profoundly sick.
About 54% of the adults questioned thought that British children were "beginning to behave like animals".
More than a third of those surveyed also agreed that "it feels like the streets are infested" with children, while 43% said something had to be done to protect adults.
Around 49% said they disagreed with the statement that children who "get into trouble" were "misunderstood" and needed professional help.
there was a "general climate of intolerance" towards British children and this could result in them being treated unfairly.
Menezes verdict choice limited
The jury at the inquest into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes will not be able to consider a verdict of unlawful killing, the coroner has said. Sir Michael Wright said that having heard all the evidence, a verdict of unlawful killing was "not justified".
Mr de Menezes, 27, was shot dead at Stockwell Tube Station by police officers who mistook him for one of the failed 21 July 2005 bombers. The jury may now return an open, narrative or lawful killing verdict.
Sir Michael made the ruling as he began his summing up of the case on Tuesday. He also warned jurors that they must not attach any criminal or civil fault to any individuals.