Somewhere along the line I went from being a conciliatory male apologist to a big angry feminist. That the time just so happens to coincide with my transition is pure coincidence. I mean, how could it not happen? If the home team just happens to be superior in every conceivable way to the rival franchise, it probably has nothing to do with the fact that I just moved to the city. Ugh! A sports analogy… how male. All kidding aside, I want to address something along those lines as I received some constructive feedback that my constant kicking of sand in the face of men comes across a little vitriolic. Let’s talk about that for a second.
First off I think I should clarify a few things. I don’t hate men or even masculinity in general. The vast majority of men, both cis and trans, have been genuinely good people with intelligence, sensitivity, empathy, and just and honorable intentions. My father was a very good man, and I hope to god my son will be as well. In the past and in the present, men have employed me, promoted me, helped me move, listened to my problems, worked for me with such engagement I burst with pride, and even now it is a man who is helping me transition here at work. No question about it, men can be very noble and do great things. “Yeah, yeah, men rock, so what’s the deal Michelle?”
Well, being born of unfortunate outer appearance, I’ve been shoved in with groups of boys and men since birth. One of the things I’ve noticed all through school, college, the Air Force, in various shit jobs, and even in a professional environment, is that men seem to like to be unbelievably nasty to each other and consider this a good time. I went on about ball busting in an earlier post, and it’s that I’m talking about. I’ve never fully understood it, but it led me to believe that men lack sensitivity about anything at all when said in jest, even if that wasn’t the underlying intention. This seemed like an open invitation to smack around these impervious galoots with no harm done. The gotcha of course, which I failed to realize, is that this only applies to each other. When women do it, it’s a whole different story.
Having a female brain, I never quite got the whole importance of the masculinity thing and considered it more of an affectation than a core identity issue. In truth, men can be very sensitive about it and get hurt feelings really quick or become defensive if they consider it threatened in some way. Women, including trans women, poking at it can be a bad time for them. It can be a little like the N word that way, but not quite understood by females to have the same level of impact. Sometimes it doesn’t, but sometimes it does. I’m not sure what always sets this off, but the comments received indicate that ball busting by females is clearly one of them. The others aren’t so clear to me, except for certain unavoidable things like my existence and gay male existence. That is where we can all run into some real problems.
Now that I have advanced my understanding of the lay of the land a little better, I can say with certainty that any negative comments toward males are emphatically not aimed at trans men, gay men, and the vast majority of the male population who are decent, noble, and chivalrous. The big angry feminist in me, however, can make no promises about the super testosterony types who wear their ball cap backwards, have contempt for women and the aforementioned types of men, and operate under the delusion that my existence is some sort of threat to their masculinity or that I have any intention of (yuk!) tricking them into sex. On them it’s open season; I simply don’t have patience for that kind of foolishness.
In conclusion, if you are one of the decent guys out there, cis or trans, of which I think you are the vast majority, you have my sincere apologies for any offenses I lobbed your way. Even having lived among you, I still don’t totally get you yet, but we can work together to understand each other. As for you other “men”, in the extremely unlikely chance you happen to read my material, game on.