Wednesday 10 August 2011

Jasper's Wardrobe.

Well, it seems I wrote Jasper off too soon in my initial post. Clicking the link therein on an impulse, I discovered he's restructured his site so that it functions in the blog world once more. Nice to see. Jasper is an interesting guy and an – perhaps the – original male femme blogger. Although... I do have problems with some of the stuff he posts.

For one thing, Jasper's identity seems to be defined, at least partly, in opposition to transactivists and feminists, with whom he has running battles. So you get headings like the recent "Women's Studies Made You Ignorant" and "Male Lesbians, Feminine Boys, Sissies, I Went Trans So You Don’t Have To". Okay, those are probably deliberately provocative with more than a dose of humour added, but still, for me they're a distraction. Feminism and trans theory are two of the most important branches of modern thought, our most serious tools in examining and reshaping the world we live in, when we're dealing with gender. Feminists and transactivists are – or should be – our allies and friends, not our opponents. We should be able to carve out our own space, own our identities, without sniping at theirs.

And then there's Jasper's interest in AGP. For instance, he reblogs Hontas Farmer: For a long time now many trans activists (...) have crusaded against the very notion of autogynephilia (...), or denied the very existence of autogynephilia. (...) The transactivist claim that autogynephilia is based on pseudo science. (...) That autogynephilia is just the work of a transphobic quack named Ray Blanchard.

I have to say I agree with the transactivists entirely. AGP is pseudo-science. It's a lame attempt to pathologize a particular area of human behaviour in the specific instances where it's deemed gender inappropriate. It's that supposed inappropriateness that we should be challenging. We don't need some gender-defending scientist to give it a silly name and tell us there's something wrong with us.

Similarly, in an earlier post by Jasper himself, there is: Anne Laurence (...) builds off of Blanchard’s theories of Male Femininity as a Desire Disorder. The theory has been labeled as “Evil” within LGBT because it sees both male crossdressers and MTFs as the same phenomenon of Becoming-Woman-Desire.

To me, a theory that calls male femininity a "disorder" of anything is just more pathologizing. Okay, I wouldn't call it evil, but I'd say it's at best obscurantist. It deflects us from debating the nature of gender, sets up a normative view of gender as axiomatic, and places us outside the discourse, as aberrant. Oi! Blanchard! No!

Furthermore, in my opinion (and this is just my opinion), male cross-dressing and MTF trans are not the same phenomenon – not in general terms. (For individuals they often can be, as the phenomena overlap, or as people struggle to reach their own understanding of themselves; but that's a different matter.) For those who are MTF trans, "becoming-woman" is not a desire, it's an imperative. Whereas for male cross-dressers – at least if we define ourselves as femmes – "becoming-woman" is a red herring, because we're not women. To use "becoming-woman" in our case merely reiterates a cultural – and false – correlation between sex and gender. For us as male femmes, the categories "man" and "femme" are not incompatible, and to throw the word "woman" in there simply confuses things.

But as I said, these are only my opinions. Obviously Jasper has his own opinions, and it is those which make his blog and his youtube channel worth watching. I shall re-add the Wardrobe to my blog list and enjoy the show :)

No comments:

Post a Comment