djpsyche: (Mwahahahaha!)
[personal profile] djpsyche
I have been reading "Self-Made Man", by Norah Vincent, an account written by a woman who disguised herself as a man and put herself into various situations to learn how society treats men differently from women. In most of the situations, Norah, as "Ned", gets to know various people -- mainly men -- and then selectively reveals her true identity to get a sense of how people's reactions to her change when they see her as a woman instead of a man.

There are some insights. Generally, I was disappointed by the book's viewing gender as a strict binary; but then again, that was the point of the book -- to identify differences between the way men and women are treated, not to identify similarities.

In the chapter on dating, "Ned" goes on dates with straight women he's met mostly on the Internet. In a few cases, "Ned" gets on well with the women, and feels compelled to reveal that she is a woman (and a lesbian). Her first question to these women is whether they may be lesbians. Hello, bi erasure. Pro tip: asking a woman who has spent her life exclusively dating men whether she is a lesbian is probably not going to get you the answer you want. Asking her whether she is potentially bisexual, well, those odds are much better.

But I've now put the book down and am considering burning it. Why? She refers to "Teena Brandon, the woman who disguised herself as a man..." WHAT!?!? My jaw literally dropped aghast at such blatant transphobia. Norah Vincent, author, is a lesbian who disguised herself as a man. Brandon Teena was a trans man.
I refuse to read another word written by someone so ignorant.
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