Oppression Olympics

“Oppression Olympics” names an argument such as, “I am more oppressed than you, therefore I am entitled to more consideration”. What I do here is close to that. Do I avoid it?

According to Wikipedia, Judith Butler argues:

that the coherence of the categories of sex, gender, and sexuality—the natural-seeming coherence, for example, of masculine gender and heterosexual desire in male bodies—is culturally constructed through the repetition of stylized acts in time. These stylized bodily acts, in their repetition, establish the appearance of an essential, ontological “core” gender.This is the sense in which Butler famously theorizes gender, along with sex and sexuality, as performative. The performance of gender, sex, and sexuality, however, is not a voluntary choice for Butler, who locates the construction of the gendered, sexed, desiring subject within what she calls, borrowing from Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, “regulative discourses.” These, also called “frameworks of intelligibility” or “disciplinary regimes,” decide in advance what possibilities of sex, gender, and sexuality are socially permitted to appear as coherent or “natural.” Regulative discourse includes within it disciplinary techniques which, by coercing subjects to perform specific stylized actions, maintain the appearance in those subjects of the “core” gender, sex and sexuality the discourse itself produces…Butler explicitly challenges biological accounts of binary sex, reconceiving the sexed body as itself culturally constructed by regulative discourse.

Um. Our species produces sperm and ova, which unquestionably have a binary sexual purpose. How do trannies fit in? I say I am female, and because I have been acculturated as male that must mean that there is something innate about my Femininity, even if I express it with my culture. To radical feminists, I am therefore oppressing queers and women by affirming patriarchal culture. So the radical feminists and the transsexuals play oppression olympics, each claiming to be oppressed by the other. This argument produces more heat than light.

I could say, well, a Grand Unified Theory of Humanity is more elusive than one for Physics. There will be exceptions. Please accept me as an exception. Let me not fit the theory of Judith Butler and others. Accept that there is something innate in me, or treat me as an aberration: that I do not fit the theory is no reason to condemn me.

I choose to express myself as “feminine” according to my culture, and have myself surgically altered because it was better than the alternative. This does not mean that gender, generally, is not cultural, nor that each person should be forced into a particular gender and sexuality expression: indeed by choosing contrary to my upbringing, I affirm the right of each person to choose, and subvert that cultural expectation of my Masculinity. If everyone should have a completely free choice of gender expression, then choices will have a wide variation: and no-one has the right to police or challenge another person’s choice.

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