"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Friday, 30 April 2010

Why Be Normal?

Lovely Lucy has written of “The Cumulative Effect of Negative Comments”. I was going to write a comment over there, but instead, I will send you to read that and her previous post “Transgender Women and Body Image”.

We are only one example, probably the easiest example of a minority that is very visible and who are targeted for ridicule and also violence because of our failure to conform. Over recent human history there are way too many examples. The bigots of our world are running out of ‘fair game’. It is still culturally acceptable to make fun of the ‘guy in drag’.

This is about power and powerlessness. We are the truly brave element. Anyone who really gives us some thought would know what bravery it takes to knowingly set your self up as the target. Of course they find temporary joy in the snicker that makes them feel powerful and better than someone (anyone in some cases). As people encounter more real trans-gendered people, and are unable to label us, but have to get to know us one at a time, it will change.

It would be less theoretical if we could avoid the violence that often goes with this power struggle. You only have to cruise around this part of the web for a while to know that for many of us, this is no theoretical discussion, not a thing to get your mind around, like ignoring the taunts on the playground when you were the sissy in grade 5. When it is life-threatening is when we need to stand together. I hope when the time comes, that enough of us are ready to stand alone if necessary and let our part of the world know that we are not freaks, and we are not sissies, and they are the ones who need to gain power by actually thinking instead of just reacting as they have been programmed to do by the forces that have really made them powerless.

As Lucy points out, buying into the idea that we have to be either this or that is the real enemy. The image makers that control our world have been doing this to women for a very long time. It seems we will have to pay our dues in this regard.

This is getting pretty deep, but maybe we need to arm ourselves to become part of a more general movement to liberate all females from the slavery of conformity. To be expressive is to be diverse. Females are more expressive by nature, yet to control someone you need to make them feel inadequate. You need to make them fear standing out. All feminine expression requires bravery. Watch our genetic sisters checking themselves out to make sure they look all right as they pass a mirror. We are not the only ones who worry if we are passing. For a full treatment on the subject, The Beauty Myth, published in 1991, by Naomi Wolf is not an easy read, but very informative on the subject.

Maybe the time has come to declare that passing should not be one of the goals of a life. Maybe we would be healthier, maybe all women would be healthier in a world where being different was expected, and people who snicker at a another person's appearance are pitied as the weak individual they really are.

Thank you Lucy, for those thought-provoking articles.




  1. I am so thrilled that you drew the connection to the explicit powerlessness women must endure. As another blogger posted, women are expected by some men and society to be meekly controlled.

    But times are changing. I don't look to the meekly cowed submissive women for my inspiration, but to those who intelligently assert themselves and their rights to dignity, respect and consideration. My wife is one such.

    Hugs and God Bless,

  2. I agree it is a power issue, and I do hope that Sophie is right; perhaps the times are a changing. However on some days I think that the bullying is just more subtle now; but lets live in hope. To be expressive is to be diverse, certainly; that probably means that the confident, the public and the empowered in our orbit have a duty(?) to confront the intimidation. The problem is I for one lack the individual courage to do that. I agree with what you say, but can do little more than nod in agreement. C.

  3. Oh Claire, hopefully it didn't read that I am already brave enough to confront the bully. So much girding of the loins needs to come before I am even ready for that first time testing my female facade. I am working at building up that inner powerful person. I greatly admire those of you who are out and about and being yourself, believe me!