Socialization and Privilege: Not Optional

Refuting this poorly-written article, Still Think Trans Women Have Male Privilege? These 7 Points Prove They Don’t, is like shooting fish in a barrel, which is why I haven’t done it in the year and a half since it came out. But it came up again in one of my social media feeds, indicating that there are apparently people out there who think it has some merit. And that’s just annoying.

I’m baffled that Everyday Feminism consistently publishes dear-diary-quality ramblings by people who clearly haven’t attended a 101-level sociology course or heard of a basic logical fallacy. I’m not baffled that they publish misogynist tripe, because I understand that’s their schtick now, but can’t they find any halfway intelligent misogynists to write for them? Like the ones that write for Playboy? Maybe not?

And the hubris. I’m reminded of the trans activists who’ve recently tried to “critique” two people leagues greater than themselves, Margaret Atwood and Lou Reed. Embarrassing, really.

But here we go.

To begin, let’s look at what socialization is, as described by sociology.org. It’s not a college course, but it’s a start:

“…Socialization is not a politically, socially, or even spiritually neutral process. That is, the things you are a taught and the ways you are to behave are not random. When you are born and the socialization process begins, it is not just about you and your family, it is about the social and political order within which you are born into. In other words, socialization teaches you the social order. And note, it is not voluntary… Whatever society you are born into, whatever the sex of the body you happen to inhabit, you are given no choice about what you will learn. Immediately after you are born, and long before you have the intellectual capacity to understand what it is that is happening to you, the process of imposing the social order begins.”

The article starts with just a grab bag of trans ideology snippets that ramble on and have nothing to do with the alleged topic, which is not only poor writing but underscores the degree to which EF is really committed to its virtue-signaling agenda. So we’ll skip that and move on to the “seven” points.

1. Trans women are real women, therefore we cannot receive male privilege.

This is known as the Equivocation Fallacy. The entire point of this article is to discuss whether or not trans women are raised with a particular type of socialization, namely, the one intended for children assumed to have penises, typified by such experiences as being punished for playing with Barbie dolls. Without accepting that such socialization exists, there’s no point in an article dedicated to whether trans women experience it. Simply declaring that the commonly used name for this phenomenon — “male socialization” — is objectionable, says nothing about whether or not it is occurring.

2. Trans Women Are Not ‘Socialized as Men’

“Most trans feminine children experience being treated as male extremely differently from cisgender boys.”

This very sentence, ostensibly placed to argue that trans women aren’t socialized male, admits that trans women are socialized male. In order for a trans woman to “experience being treated as male differently,” the trans woman has to experience being treated as male. That’s male socialization.

3. Trans Women Experience Misogyny Before They Present as Women

“But every time I picked up or even looked at a Barbie, I was called ‘fag’ or ‘gaylord’ by the other boys, reprimanded by my teachers, and punished by my parents.”

This is not misogyny. Little girls are not punished for playing with Barbie. If you were being treated as a girl, a prerequisite for receiving misogyny, then your attempts to play with Barbie would have been well-received.

Punishment for playing with Barbie is reserved for males. The punishment you received for playing with Barbie is exactly the same punishment a “cis” boy would have received if he had played with Barbie. Kids don’t come out of the womb knowing if they’re supposed to play with Barbie or not; they’re taught. Girls are taught it’s ok. Boys are taught it’s not. You received the “boy” lesson, exactly as expected.

Not only did you receive male socialization, but you were in fact its specific target. Male socialization exists to punish boys who play with Barbie and reward boys who play baseball, in the hopes that when they grow up, they’ll play baseball instead of Barbie.

If, as you presume, there’s a baseball-loving “cis” boy out there who’s never picked up a Barbie, then he will need less of this socialization than you, not more. It is you who is targeted for “correction,” by design. Male socialization exists not to train boys to do what their “nature” was already going to direct them to do, but to train them to do what the social order requires of them.

The fact that socialization is painful proves that it’s happening, not that it’s not happening. Training is painful. Studying for a test is painful. Lifting weights is painful.

Saying that painful socialization isn’t socialization is like claiming that if you walk away with aching arms from a session with a personal trainer who forced you to do 50 push-ups, the push-ups must not have really happened.

And this socialization was, contrary to what you believe, highly successful. You so thoroughly internalized the message that boys don’t play with Barbie, that you changed your beliefs about your own nature to avoid challenging it. Instead of facing the inescapable fact that boys do in fact play with Barbie, as you knew first-hand, you redefined yourself as a girl so as not to contradict your training. Who knew that socialization could be so successful as to make people deny the information of their senses.

Also, point 3 is just a restatement of point 2. You don’t get to count it twice.

4. Trans Women Don’t Experience Less Violence or Discrimination Than Cis Women

This has nothing to do with male socialization or male privilege. Stay on topic.

Also, it’s not true.

5. Trans Women Who Aren’t Perceived as Femme Don’t Experience More Privilege Than Those Who Do

This is just incoherent.

First of all, it’s a “manufactroversy.” Secondly, it’s answered with wholly invented baseless assertions. Not even worth it.

6. Trans Women May Participate in Misogyny, But They Do So as Women

Ugh, train wreck. Let me count the ways:

  • Misogyny from women isn’t a thing, just as “reverse racism” isn’t a thing. It depends upon a power dynamic.
  • No, they don’t.
  • Has nothing to do with the claim in the article title.

7. It’s Not Up to Cis People to Define Trans Women’s Experiences

Again, this has nothing to do with the claim in the article title. Or is the author claiming the entire field of sociology is up for grabs to be redefined by whoever feels like it?

And this final nugget of wisdom:

“And isn’t self-determination, even in the midst of a complicated and violent world, the point of feminism?”

No. No, it is not.

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9 thoughts on “Socialization and Privilege: Not Optional

    • Your comment made me go look at their staff page to see if Riley’s more important than I thought he was. He’s not, but over 30% of their staff is either male or identifies as not-female. No wonder they can’t concentrate on women’s issues over there.

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  1. Now, smart arse comments aside … there’s also:

    The debate is being framed entirely within the linguistic frameworks utilised by trans* activists. It’s classic grey propaganda techniques: by establishing the “acceptable” language which may be utilised to discuss the issue, in this case, trans-supremacy, they aim to control the entire discourse. After all, if it’s generally accepted within the public domain (though currently that’s still only the progressive left political movement) what may be discussed without being painted with the bigotry brush, the audience will effectively censor itself. It’s a simplistic method of attempting to control the way people think by controlling the language used.

    On a side note, the tactic is itself another demonstration of misogyny in play, though it may be subconscious for the majority of trans* activists. The selection of this tactic, however, is clearly an attempt to reverse or “serve back” similar linguistic adjustments promoted by feminist activists in the past; particularly from the 1970s and 1980s (e.g. changing chairman to chairperson, police man to police officer, mankind to human kind or humanity, etc.). The difference is there’s less thought put into this; they kind of know where they want to go, but they haven’t thought it all through and there’s no over-arching strategy. Whereas historically feminist linguistic critiue has been far more nuanced and essentially founded on sound theory.

    Which brings us, of course, to the other binary and the application of cis to prepend everything. This insidious little wordlet is the best example of the poor attempt to control the narrative by controlling language and more so the people engaging that narrative. The trans activists know without a shadow of a doubt that if someone describes themselves as cis-anything, they’ve already won half the battle. Anyone accepting that term as a self-descriptor is alreadtarnishedinclined to be a trans apologist; seeing no difference between acquiescing to those terms and standing up against any other form of prejudice. So they completely overlook the way it is itself a demonstration of a different kind of bigotry.

    Specifically the trans* activists have moved beyond simply claiming their own tiny little plot of the social and political spheres by defining themselves and their goals. No, they’ve moved on to insisting they can define everyone who is not in their little trans-clique. Then going on to claim, just as George W. Bush did, “if you’re not with us, you’re against us.” If you’re not trans and don’t accept being labelled cis anything (regardless of whether or not it is anywhere near accurate), then you’re transphobic. If you dare to question that trans wome aren’t women, you’re transphobic. If you dare to even ask questions abtttt biology, that’s transphobic too. Then eventually, if you dare to posit that human rights are for all humans and that others, such as children and/or sexual assault victims have rights which also need to be respected in this blurry new world, well, not only does that make you transphobic, but also trying to murder trans* people.

    All of which is achieved by trying to dominate the language with which the debate is framed. So the first step, as any student of political science will know already, is to reclaim the language with which the entire thing is being discussed. In my case that means drawing everything back to a handful of the most basic rights for everyone: freedom of expression, freedom of association (including freedom from association), right to privacy and personal or body sovereignty.

    If the trans* world want to call themselves whatever and modify their own bodies then that’s their business. What they don’t get to do is force language on the rest of us to define ourselves or all non-trans people by the trans language. Just as they can define themselves, so can the rest of us.

    If the trans world wants safe places from males or right-wingers or Trump voters or Ewoks on meth, that’s fine. The same, however, applies for anyone else and that means there’s the equal right to associate away from trans* people. Their right to associate or gather in a place does not mandate that others must associate with them against their will (so there’s the bathroom issue done). Privacy, follows straight on from there, in much the same way.

    Finally personal sovereignty; it gives them the right to mess around with their body chemistry or even elect to have surgery, but it doesn’t mean that anyone else has to have that brought forcefully into their own lives. This, of course, covers why campaigns to end genital mutilation, including FGM and IGM, do not prevent trans* people from seeking that sort of thing for themselves.

    The trans* activists have forgotten that the essential underpinning of all campaigns for human rights, whether they be based on race, sex or belief, essentially boils down to an evening of the scales. Where one party is disadvantaged and simply wants what the other takes for granted. That’s not what trans* activists are working for; no, they’re working for a re-imagined world in which theygain absolute privileges, dressed as rights, which trancend the actual rights of everyone else.

    Primarily over the rights of women, but they’re stepping on a few others to get there. Which is why they’re attempting to deceptively claim a link to intersex, even as they frame all discussion in a manner which actively prevents intersex people even discussing their own conditions without being accused of being transphobic (that inconvenient biology again).

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  2. If a little boy is bullied for playing with Barbies (notice it’s always a Barbie & not any other doll), why not teach him to STAND UP TO THE BULLYING & HIS RIGHT TO PLAY WITH ANY DAMN TOY HE WANTS TO & not to “believe” that he is really a “she”. Maybe it’s a parenting/caretaking issue & nothing to do with “identity” at all. Put a bunch of kids into a room full of toys & they are all going to play with whatever they want to. There is always going to be a kid who is going to bully the other kids, that’s the way it is. It’s up the ADULT in the room to stop that shit. Telling a little boys – whether they are the bullies or the bullied – that Barbies are girl toys are NOT curing this problem. Toys have NO gender. & people are either XY or XX & there’s no arguing that FACT.

    Liked by 3 people

    • yeah I agree and I had a house (mega house full) of toddlers and playing youngsters. BUT I was the one with the checkbook and the purchase power so barbie aint gonna be in my playroom for little ones because I do not like the product line, period. I get to buy. I choose NOT to buy that product line. I found some plump dolls with female and male genitalia from europe and those were hanging around the playroom along with tons of other crap like bad old musical instruments and tent forts and on and and on and on and on. the boys I noticed ALWAYS stripped the boy dolls and checked out stuff and left them hanging around naked. i still have these dolls. saving them for the next generation. toy choices are mega thoughtful for me because they affect subtly everyone playing in a room. when they make female warrior real sized plastic dolls I’ll buy them until then I am sticking with europe’s production line. i can’t help it. my radical feminist daughter had a 18th birthday cake on it that said “i had zero barbies”. we love women. we dislike dysmorphic body images manufactured by madison avenue onto playtime of boys and girls.

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  3. I know I’m late… behind the times, sorry!

    I do find it a bit beyond the pale that trans women claim to have no male privilege, while happily accusing trans men or non-binary people born female of having female privilege. Maybe if they were told they’re not allowed to play videogames or read comics instead of playing with barbie they would have a point. Screw it, I would have gladly given my goddamn barbie to some trans child – I hate that stupid doll. (And don’t get me started on how girls are conditioned into the role of motherhood from disturbingly young ages.)

    I see a lot of trans women make comments about cis women’s behaviour which are so obviously false (because I have contrary experiences.) Would it really be so hard to find a woman and ask them before making odd arguments which don’t stand up? It’s not just this article, but others also that are long since gone and I no longer have the links to.

    (I know it’s another post but the terf caricature daring to have body hair is the very epitome of patriarchal bullshit. God forbid a woman grows even a single hair on her body that isn’t on her scalp, or, if permitted, her eyebrows. For fuck’s sake…)

    Apologies for staying anonymous.

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