Tweet from Ricky Gervais: RG: Some transexuals think they were a woman trapped in a man’s body. KP: But what next? “Doctor, I think I’m a gerbil?” “Well you’re not!” 2 January 2013 at 10.03 am.
There are lots of answers to that “woman trapped in a man’s body” line. Here is my favourite. That blog site has not posted since 2007, which is a great shame: here is another beauty: rather than arguing sterilely about the meaning of privilege, We could try reminders that we’re not abstract constructs. In that vein, I thought–if it’s not too personal–we could talk about, well, each other. Go and have a look, you do not have to hunt far here for treasure.
“Woman trapped in a man’s body” is a line I hate, because it oversimplifies, and is wrong, and a line I love, because it explains. Here am I at 46 still finding aspects of myself I hardly dare call “feminine”, which I resent, so that the essential work of loving them is so difficult and time-consuming. I read the phrase, and think, well, that is OK, I am a woman- while parts of me still retort, no, I am a man, and wanting to dress female and use a female name is ridiculous.
And it oversimplifies. I am Me, I do not fit any pre-defined box.
So, for others.
I had my testicles removed.
That is disgusting and horrible and you are sick and OMFG and-
Well, I am a woman, and my man’s body did not fit me.
And if someone is seeking to understand, willing and able to see me as a person, the phrase might help them grope towards understanding and accepting something so weird I can barely understand it myself.
But if someone does not wish to understand, it becomes a way to reduce me. Rather than seeing this complex breathing human being before him, Gervais quotes the cliché of a “woman trapped in a man’s body” which he then mocks.
I paid to be castrated. You can either do the difficult empathetic work of imagining what it might be like to want that, and do that, or you can ridicule.
Simply not understanding and accepting is difficult and painful, more difficult for the intelligent, who have so little practice in it. And the intelligent can produce an understanding which is wrong, but with their intelligence almost make it work.
It is not as simple as being a “woman trapped in a man’s body”, it is as complex as takes a hundred blog posts for me to explain to myself, leave alone anyone else. And- that phrase might be the key for a beginning of understanding.
At 11.39, Gervais tweeted, I love the fact that my tweets always annoy and please exactly the right people. Haha. In other words, fuck you, I do not care what you think. Thank you, Ricky, it is always good to be reminded many people don’t.
Well, did you hear the joke about the spaz and the dyke?? Do I have the right to be rude, because I am a spaz? I seriously doubt that it does me any good. That is the problem with rudeness, with my intention to wound and offend: in the end, it damages me, more than it damages my target.
Hm….I’m not sure about that either. Public humiliation is pretty damaging, sometimes, before we understand more of the christ-like virtues that are wrapped around loving neigbours and karma….which can take lifetimes.
The problem with rudeness, with making jokes at other people’s expense, is not so much the ignorant twit in the spotlight looking for a few cheap laughs, but the example he sets, the precedent he allows, that can tip the vulnerable and friendless over the edge. The shy, fragile people of this world are at risk from the foul mouthed idiots, which is why they need to be stood up to, occasionally.
Clare, your body is only your home for your spirit. It is the light within that attracts….
Take care, and watch out for the idiots out there. Give them a body swerve.
The theory of “Reclaiming” says that you can call yourself a spaz if you want, just as I can call myself a tranny, and that our use of these words makes them merely names, without the negative connotations or the hatred. Use of the word drains it of poison.
The original exposure to the hostility definitely hurt me, and possibly now further exposure helps me to see how worthless it is. That is the point of Friday 11th’s post (I am ahead of myself again). I want to hold the two in my mind. There is hostility, there is acceptance. If I deny the hostility exists, when it is forced on my attention it hurts me again. So I remember that it exists, and that I can bear it. And if the hurt comes up, we may support each other.
I’m not sure about the theory of reclaiming, since when I call myself a spaz, I am feeling only self loathing or dismissiveness. Though de-sensitisation therapy sounds closer to the truth, it too, in this context, spreads around words that have unacceptable connotations. Making abuse more casual, less secretive, is still abusive…..
Hostility is always hurtful since, in cases like this you have done nothing, said nothing to deserve it. But ridicule can often be pointless, cheap, banal, and careless, as much as hostile….just anything for a quick laugh, anything for attention. Seeing that, understanding why someone picks on an easy target, might help to explain. Might…..
For me, being in denial makes the sight of what I deny much more painful. Because denial is like a fence, behind which I am forced to live in avoidance. Remembering hostility exists, is the reason I stay behind my fence…
Acceptance says that when we live an undefended life, when we accept, hostility is less likely to occur. Because we are not defensive, because we smile and let all that stuff go, we are less likely to attract it. Which is a process of coming to terms that goes on in our own heads. And though it does bring positive outcomes – I have a happier life and attract less ridicule – there is nothing I can do about the idiots who think that oddness, being different, is a source of entertainment. By abd large, I choose not to get involved with them.
This is hard to articulate, isn’t it?! Phew!
I have gained a lot from reading your posts, and from your understanding. I am glad whenever we support each other. ♥
Desensitising works too, why give an enemy a weapon to attack you with?
When we accept we are less likely to attract hostility: I think when we are self-conscious that is visible, people notice it, and some might be moved to be hostile when they see it. And, the hostility matters less, unless it is physically violent.
I learn from your comments. I have very little to add.
Rude and insensitive people bore the hell out of me.. I will not entertain them in the least and neither should you..
Yes, and- you as a writer love words. “Spaz” or “Tranny” as I said to Ann can be respectful enough, and “Special” as in “special needs education” can be a playground insult. I do not care if Gervais thinks me a perv or a loon, and “woman trapped in a man’s body” can be an expression of that rudeness or a bridge towards empathy.
I collapsed entirely before the hostility, and fought to make a man of myself. Now, I inoculate myself against it. So Gervais has his uses. It is a pity that he encourages other hostiles, though.
Labels are a tricky thing. They help us make sense of the world. Help us put things neatly in a box. Help us define who and what we are…yet they also limit us. They gag us. They tie us down. They force us to stay neatly tucked inside those little boxes.
Hello, KP. Welcome. It is lovely to have you here.
Yes. Any understanding restricts us if it cannot change, and liberates us if it is a springboard to further understanding and change. Self-concepts do too. Most people imagine that they ought to be in control, and find their emotions threatening to this: so we become frightened of our own emotions, and terrified of the things we could never possibly control. While we cannot control many things, we can react to them usefully. All this about the label “addicted obsession”- is that, “human reaction”?
It is indeed.
I always want to comment when I read all of your posts, but usually do not even know where to start since there is so much to say. Tonight, I just mostly want you to know how greatly I appreciate you, your beauty, your honesty, and just who you are in the world. Your transparent process is validating for those of us who read it (me!) so I hope you feel that reflection come back to you.This particular post reminds me of the book “The Left Hand of Darkness” by Ursula LeGuin…she brings up the topic of gender identity and androgyny through speculative fiction / science fiction in a very interesting manner. Have you read it?
I blush in delight. Thank you. I treasure your appreciation. And any comment you like is welcome. You do not have to say everything.
I have loved LeGuin’s work and only remember odd flashes. I have not read that one, and I see it is on Kindle. I remember her line something like men seek to change the World, women to change ourselves.
Gervais has “spurned tranny chaser” written all over him.
Also, there’s this:
1:40 into the clip
You’re just jealous is a good basic repartee when you have nothing better.
-You’re just jealous!
-Jealous jealous jealous not listening fingers in ears jealous!
Are you saying I look better than Paris Hilton? Damning with faint praise.
What. I’m pointing out that Tina Fey made an offensive comment by saying Paris Hilton “looks like a tranny”
Well, yes. She manages to insult Paris, by saying she looks like us, and us, by using us as a byword for female dyspulchritude. And- I turn it round by making it a compliment for us. Ach, I can do sparring, but prefer sweetness.
oh, lol. yeah im slow and just got confused but that was a nice, fancy way of putting it. 🙂
I’m a trans woman I’m 51 and I’m complete now, that I’m in the right body. Ive always been attracted to men, Ive always wanted to be kissed and held by a man. Ive always wanted to make love to men. My name is Glenda Elkins and I’m happy baby!!!! Ive always wanted to be admired and loved by men!!!
Welcome, Glenda. Thank you for commenting. I am happy for you.