Gender as a codifier of value
What is the real problem with gender?
-it doesn’t exist!
We need to create it and that takes a lot of time, energy, and money. It has to be reinforced in every sphere of our lives, and that requires endless attention, study, and self-sacrifice.
Gender seems to exist outside of ourselves, it has taken over. We have become slaves of gender!
Nobody gets hurt if you cut yourself or committ suicide. But as soon as you contradict the gender binary, as soon as you start messing with gender roles and sexuality, you open up a Pandora’s Box of curses, stigmas, and debate.
Political groups and religions all of a sudden take an interest in you, because gender is one of the many measures of wealth, sucess, happiness, and power. Whoever wields the gender controlling stick decides how society is to function.
Whoever controls our bodies and what we are allowed to do with ourselves has immense control of society.
Minority groups are, in essence, a collection of individual bodies who have come together or are lumped together to form a collective. If people had full control of their bodies, others, the ones deciding on what constitues normality, would have less. Therefore, fertility, procreation, marriage, image, media attention, philosophical discourse and medical practice have all been colonized by one segment of the population.
The binary requires protection from trans-identified folk, and even feminists are not immune to the fear of difference. Being trans is not complicated and not a political statement in itself, but is taken advantage of in a political climate. Imagine being a writer and having written a play that is constantly being censored and ultimately re-written by the director. In the end, the play is nothing like the original. The play has been screwed up.
Why are transsexuals allowed to have surgery now, even herded into the operating rooms like cattle in a farmyard? Because they have been deemed acceptable for retraining. They might have qualities that are attractive to the binary, they can be shifted from male to female and vice versa. Even though it’s annoying to do so, at least the categories male/female are not shifted, and that’s what it’s all about in the end. Having set definitions and regulations of what constitutes being trans helps monitor and regulate this gender playing field.
A nurse I met once told me she could understand my reluctance to go to the gynaecologist. I had repeatedly told her of my gender dysphoria and that I felt uncomfortable being poked and proddded in places I felt didn’t even belong to my body and, if I had any say in it, should never see the light of day. She gave me great encouragement when I didn’t let go of my fear of bodily invasion and talked about transition. She saw that I wouldn’t stop talking about being the one who decides what happens to my body, so she encouraged me to finally decide now on being male, because it’s really not a big deal anymore to come out, she knows many trans people, and society is so open nowadays. She said it’s impossible to live in such a state of limbo where the body is not right and that I should really talk to the doctor about this, he could help me get the necessary help.
When I told her I had already had top surgery without hormones and that I have no nipples either, she was taken aback. She was confused and then annoyed. It’s amazing how charged emotions can get when it comes to gender-aligned-to-sex. She didn’t ask me how surgery was or how I felt. I had hurt her by confusing her, while I didn’t even pay much attention anymore to her attempts at erasing my identity. She said “well, I guess it’s too late now”, too late for her to be able to tell me what to do with my body. This was not the male form, the male transition she had expected. I had taken this power away from her, I had changed the recognisable form, the form to which so much about ourselves is attached. The form that decides your worth.
Who is man and who is woman? These labels are crucially important in defining what we do, how we are to act, how we live, what life choices we are able to make. In modern society hegemony still exists and it expands by using gender as a tool to reward or punish. Traditional marriage supports gender norms, as the woman and man relationship allows for greater dominance of male-centered benefit. Many marriages are built on the premise that women are domestics and child-bearers/carers. One aspect of marriage is sexual availablity of the spouse, it’s part of the contract.
The image of a man and a woman is also important, for how else would we recognise what social class a person belongs to, what gender class? Poverty affects both men and women, but if ones gender is driven to the foreground of how important, how effective one is for commercial success, these roles and norms decide not only on our economic output capacity, but also on how much we are able to earn and gain from society. It’s no weird coincidence that transgender individuals are usually left out of receiving economic benefits.
Eventhough it makes less economic sense to deprive one group of its earning potential, such is the desire of the elite.
Gender, the gender binary, favours forced dependence. Women’s bodies, for example, have been used for ages as vessels for male sexuality and breeding. The refusal to accept birth control and abortions is still rampant in many parts of the world, even the so-called free and family-friendly United States, not because people feel morally obliged to save an unborn child, but because they are obliged to keep one major segment of the population under control, to assert dominance. When U.S. governing bodies determine that your child should be an outcast due to their gender expression or the fact that they don’t conform to traditional roles, where is the family friendliness in that? They destroy many families by promoting violence against this child,the destroy many family unions in that way. It’s not really about freedom of expression (freedom of speech) and family.
But if gender is blurred, obsolete, it benefits individuals. It would discourage the fetishizing of women, children, child-like people, trans individuals and male-and-female identified people, because gender would not determine one’s value, would not be a means to objectify and abuse. People would possibly start seeing a human being rather than a gender when dealing with another person, there would be more identification with our common plight of all being trapped in physical existence rather than being trapped in a better body, a more suitable body, a more valid body.
But the economy has its own rules, and profits (note: profits in economic terms, not in human terms) might decrease when people stop consuming eachother. Free labour would not occur as often, because equal rights would be implemented, naked bodies would not be used as sales reps for useless items.
Freeing ourselves of the gender obligation would not be a positive development….not for the capitalist who would like to sell their own grandmother if they could make a profit, not for the greedy and narcissists who only think about their own lives, it would not be good for those whose instincts tell them “you must conquer to survive”, not good for those pleasure-seeking-at-any-cost-types on this, our precious Earth.
Perhaps one day people will come to their senses. I would say….fine, keep your gender if you really have to cling to this term, but stop using it to damage other people, stop manipulating this term and creating difference when there is none. Stop evoking fear and hatred when you encounter a person that does not appeal to you aesthetically or does not fit your agenda.
Get rid of gender and its implications, you get rid of a whole set of issues that affect all of us who are trapped in human bodies. Perhaps the first step is to trying to define yourself REGARDLESS of the gender/sex that has been imposed upon us.
It’s not easy, but it can be done.