Guest contributor Lisa Millbank provides a part 2 to her post on Signifiant Othering . “Lisa was born in November at ground zero beneath the Millbank Tower (UK) and so took its name. If cissexism and misogyny could dream, she would like to be their nightmare, and she believes their biggest nightmare is cis and trans women working hand in hand to destroy both systems of domination.” This piece was originally posted at her blog, A Radical TransFeminist, in its entirety.
This is only an excerpt. Visit her site for the full collection of responses.
I’ve been overwhelmed and delighted by the reaction to Significant Othering: Attraction Down The Privilege Gradient.
If your comment is included here, it’s because I’ve asked you if you’d consent to me including it, and I’ve anonymised it as well except where explicitly asked to leave names in. Some take the form of question-and-answer, other comments I’ve reproduced in their entirety, others are summarised, one or two are satirised and finally there’s a section of further reading at the end of this piece.
First, though, I’d like to lead with my favourite – a set of demands by pyromaniacharlot made in response to the demands in the original piece:
- I demand that you re-examine who and how you love.
- I demand this, because other than being who we are, re-examining who we love is one of the most radical actions any one person can engage in. Loving can change your worldview, and it can define your battles. Love can transform you and free you.
- I demand that in this realm, first you let go of everything you’ve been told is ‘valid’ and ‘proper’. Then start again at the beginning, by *respecting* the people around you. All of them. We are all people, not objects existing for your pleasure. Respect that people have autonomy, and that they have the right to make their own informed choices. Thou shalt not coerce, manipulate or dehumanize.
- From there, I demand that you make up your own rules. Love that is brief is no less valid than love that lasts for decades. Love comes in all shapes and sizes, and can happen between people of all genders, races and ages. Love doesn’t have to be exclusive. Love doesn’t have to be gentle.
- Finally, I demand that you accept your love and carry it proudly. Beauty comes in many forms, and noone has the right to tell you otherwise. Stand by your lovers, support and defend them, even if the world tells you otherwise. Especially if the world tells you otherwise. Because noone has the right to police your heart, and no love is wrong.
My Response: <3 !
Other Comments (and Responses, Where Applicable)
Would women class as a marginalised group in this context, or does the fact that sexualisation is part of that marginalisation work against this?
I don’t even know! In some ways I feel that *everyone* is trained to be attracted to women. In others, that woman/woman attraction is attacked and marginalised, or made into a sexual object.
As a girl who stopped being slim around the age of about thirteen I think I would be quite offended to be told (either up front or later on down the line in a relationship) that someone had trained themselves to be attracted to women like me….the idea gives me the creeps.
I think it’s a difficult subject. The call, I think, is for people to train themselves to destroy the inner prejudice/received sexuality which means that ‘people like you’ are struck off their list. When that prejudice is gone, a liberated sexuality remains which might or might not include you.
I think that the conversation about our attractions will continue, in queer space and beyond – this piece certainly won’t be the final word. I’ll continue to welcome responses and I aim to respond to all comments. Most all all, I’d welcome your demands. If you could ask anything, what would you dare to ask?
So, I’ve noticed some of my fellow male fat admirers throwing tantrums when women object to be sexualized without consent. These dudes whine about how the women are telling them aren’t allowed to find fat bodies attractive. Cut that shit out. Like now.
We must shift from a politic of desirability and beauty to a politic of ugly and magnificence. That moves us closer to bodies and movements that disrupt, dismantle, disturb. Bodies and movements ready to throw down and create a different way for all of us, not just some of us.
I’ve been reading these recent conversations about “the privilege of being desired” bop around Tumblr these past few days… I am queer, trans, white and fat and I find that even in the political spaces and ‘communities’ that surround my life there is a definite erasure and rejection of disabled bodies, fat bodies, non-white bodies and a pretty intense privileging of masculinities – just to scrape the surface.
… not everyone has the benefit of having their attractiveness reinforced by others. Personally speaking, I get complimented on my looks maybe a few times a year, getting called “cute” at best… The one relationship I had, I was made to feel completely undesirable for being fat and butch and that no man would want me unless I stopped being those things. Culture backs up that assertion, and so does experience.
This is only an excerpt of Lisa’s follow-up post of responses and links. For more, check out the original post here.
(Photo by MichaelMaggs via Wikimedia Commons)