Recently in a Facebook group based on cute animal pictures, I witnessed the archetypal trans activist meltdown at its finest.
A random dude said something not very cool, and very much off-topic for that matter, and a bunch of other random dudes and dudettes called him out on it. So far, so good.
But one of the people who called him out was a 20-year-old MtF; we’ll call him Iridessa. Not-cool dude took a look at Iridessa’s profile photos, which were a masturbatory fest of pornified half-naked selfies with blowing hair, pouting lips, and violent chest clenching, coupled with his obvious maleness and use of female pronouns, and immediately knew just what was up.
I’ve never seen a young woman post selfies like these, by the way — she’d get eaten alive. I wonder if Iridessa is aware of the privilege he possesses in displaying himself so fearlessly, confident that this will bring him a barrage of compliments instead of the credible rape threats it would bring a woman. I also wonder if he knows that the schtick he’s building his identity upon will fail him when he’s 40. But these are questions for another post.
To get back to the story, not-cool dude then said something to the effect that Iridessa had an anxiety disorder that was alleviated by wearing women’s underwear, and that it was too bad that the “suffocating taboo” of that fact caused Iridessa to need to believe that he is a woman.
It’s too bad not-cool dude was not cool, actually, because what he said struck me as fairly insightful. I mean, let’s think about why the MtF wears women’s panties. It isn’t because of that oft-repeated trope that they need to “present” to the outer world the authentic identity they feel inside, is it? Because no one sees those panties but them. And women’s panties aren’t logistically better at holding dicks and balls in place or anything like that — quite the contrary, they’re too skimpy to do that (as I heard first-hand from my ex).
So while the rest of the world is busy wearing undergarments designed for providing coverage, mitigating the effects of gravity, making sports more comfortable, or catching the discharge expected to emanate from the particular genitals they possess — except maybe on date night, to be fair, when undergarments sometimes get less utilitarian — transgender people are choosing underwear based on mysterious motivations that no one’s allowed to question and, even while vehemently refusing to address the matter in one way or the other, pretending that those motivations don’t involve eroticism.
And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for eroticism. But it doesn’t make a man a woman nor does it place him in dire need of breaching the privacy of natal women in the interest of protecting himself from men, whose patriarchal interests his identity apparently prevents him from going out of his way to cater to.
But that’s all actually beside the point I’m here to make. The interesting part of this story is what happened after the comment.
Iridessa gleefully wallowed in his sense of unbearable oppression for a good dozen comments, and as if to parody himself, actually threw around the words “transmisogyny,” “die in a fire,” and “shitlord.” A further dozen posts, some from himself and others from his throng of adoring supporters, continued the oppression-fest even as a few bystanders sheepishly said, “Can we get back to the animal pictures?”
Eventually even one of Iridessa’s supporters said something to the effect of, “The haters aren’t worth it, let’s just let it drop,” to which Iridessa responded “No!” before continuing a point-by-point monologue on the many ways in which he, a middle-class, sex-obsessed white man barely out of high school, who I’d wager still gets money from his parents, is the most oppressed person to ever walk the earth.
(You who can become annoyed by this and then click away from it or put away the Internet for a while, cast not the first stone at those of us who lived with it.)
And I think about the times I’ve seen someone say something racist in social media, and the times I’ve seen a person of color respond. She usually doesn’t feel safe being aggressive or calling names or bringing up the legacy of slavery — even though she’d have every right to — and she usually isn’t showered with compliments for her response. At worst she’s called angry and at best others cower in embarrassment and wait for it to blow over. And God forbid she make her point repeatedly over the course of a couple dozen posts. Even president Obama was advised not to make his More Perfect Union speech because of the fear he’d get branded an “angry black man” who couldn’t move past the unattractive spectacle of victimhood.
What is this new sort of oppression, that gets its sufferers so many accolades? That finds credibility in calling a straight white man a gay minority woman, and grants him all the oppression that entails, even as the attribution gets him applause instead of ostracizing? What is this oppression that can be turned back at will, but instead is prized, cherished and savored?