Sunday, February 27, 2022

Understanding Just a Bit Better

 A young woman named Helena writes about her transitioning and detransitioning - quite a full life already (or a rather empty one, YMMV) for one so young in By Any Other Name. It adds up to me, though I wasn't quite following at first.

Its understandable that any young person exposed to this kind of belief system would grow to deeply resent being white, “cis”, straight, or (biologically) male. The beauty of gender ideology is it provides a way to game this system, so that you can get some of those targets off your back and enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded youths. You can’t change your race, pretending to have a different sexuality would be very uncomfortable in practice, but you can absolutely change your gender, and it’s as easy as putting a “she/they” in your bio. Instantly you are transformed from an oppressing, entitled, evil, bigoted, selfish, disgusting cishet white scum into a valid trans person who deserves celebration and special coddling to make up for the marginalization and oppression you supposedly now face. Now not expected to do as much groveling and reaffirming to everyone how much you love checking your privilege, you can relax a little and talk about your life without wondering if you are distracting from the struggles of or speaking over marginalized groups, because you are marginalized too. With the new pronouns often comes a wave of positive affirmation from friends and followers, and the subconscious picks up quickly that there’s a way to make the deal of being on Tumblr even sweeter.

The feelings she describes at fifteen, of alienation, feeling different and misunderstood, not fitting in - these have been typical for that age, at least since the assuming of adult roles at 16, 18, or 21 stopped being the norm. Before that, we don't know.  We are just making it up a lot of the time, and the retrospective analysis by older people is too likely to be colored by later events. People had much harder lives, but they had a place. Cue Michael W Smith "A Place In This World." As we delay the entry into adulthood longer and longer - more years of education, older age at marriage and birth of first child, longer time living with parents, partly because of the legislation we have around housing - it may be that this was expected, and even inevitable. There is no end in sight to the bad feelings if you are fifteen.  You look for exits from the system, and wilder explanations seem possible.

1 comment:

james said...

There were more universally understood roles as well. Even if you rebel against them they give some clarity to life.