Posted on | July 7, 2014 | 49 Comments
That interesting phrase occurs in a long essay by a woman who “spent three years living as male, a year and a half on testosterone” as part of female-to-male “transgender” therapy before deciding to stop the hormones and “de-transition”:
When I was nineteen, I discovered the word “dysphoria” in a trans activist group on campus. Dysphoria explained my humiliation of being a female. It explained why I felt that I should be treated as my older brother had been. I wasn’t free to live the way I wanted to — unless I was a boy.
Imagine this desperately unhappy woman, at age 19, whose experience of being female was a source of “humiliation,” thinking she had found the solution to her unhappiness in “a trans activist group on campus.” Now, imagine this woman discovering that “trans” therapy didn’t solve her problem, and trying to get her head around that:
I am a product of my society, a response to your criticism and encouragement, I am a hall of mirrors reflecting your uncertainties and insecurities. I see eyes that look back with questions for answers. I see the shame of being a dyke and the elation of being a boy. My transition wasn’t a a careless decision, or a mistake — it was a reaction to my society and my experience that resulted in a better quality of life and provided me with the comfort of having answers and options. Eventually awakening to the ill-fit of living as male allowed me to examine my sex from a more holistic perspective.
What is my gender? I identify with my sex after being repulsed by it my entire life. My gender is that having a cunt has affected every facet of my existence, even when I turned the tables on others’ perception of my body. My gender is having discovered that I don’t enjoy fitting in with the guys: passing as male, becoming fluent in bro-talk, and being assumed to have a penis. By making my sex invisible, I internalized misogyny.
Well, you can read the rest of that. I’ve often said that feminism has replaced psychotherapy in the lives of mentally ill women, which is not to say that these unfortunate misfits are entirely unsympathetic. One gets the impression in this particular case that “23xx” comes from a severely dysfunctional family background, but without any access to healthy family life for purposes of comparison, she can’t analyze her own situation with any clarity. Her attitudes toward men are a weird mix of envy and hate:
Around a year on [testosterone], an alarm started going off in my head. . . . I was becoming what I hated. . . .
At this point, I would rather be able to simply acknowledge that I hate most men, with good reason, than to delude myself into thinking that I was mistaken about misogyny and that I really am lesser somehow.
Here’s the weird thing: After scanning her blog a while, I kept finding angry references to her mother, but never any mention of her father. One hesitates to engage in long-distance analysis of someone on the basis of a partial and superficial reading like this, but this seems to me highly suggestive. One might expect hatred of males from a woman who expressed resentment toward her father, but in this case, there is not even any mention of a father. And so, Herr Doktor?
The single mother dotes on the elder child, a boy, and fails to establish a healthy relationship with her younger child, a girl. The daughter experiences rejection, envies her older brother — who is loved and accepted by their mother in a way that she, the girl, is not — and as a result, the daughter grows up with a sense of alienation so profound that it overwhelms her identity as a woman.
Like I said, this kind of “remote analysis” is something we should hesitate to engage in, but you have to think that this extreme case of “internalized misogyny” must be explicable by some peculiar circumstance of her childhood. You also have to think that warning signs of her maladjustment were ignored or misinterpreted by her parents and teachers: “Oh, she’s just going through a phase.”
Parents need to recognize that misfits (of whatever kind, including Creepy Little Weirdos like Elliot Rodger) don’t just “get over” their problems, and early manifestations of psychological abnormality can’t be dismissed as “going through a phase.” Most misfits eventually find some way to cope with their problems, at least well enough that they don’t commit murder or suicide (or both). But they tend to arrive at the coping point only after years of struggle, loneliness, misery and harmful “acting out” of their inner problems.
And now that I’ve invoked the misogynistic killer Elliot Rodger, let me point out something else from the “23xx” blog: One reason she quit testosterone treatment was in the hope of “getting my anger under control,” having discovered that her “intense urges to self-harm . . . had become much more extreme and violent towards myself” as a result of being on testosterone. Doesn’t this testimony about the effects of androgenic hormones — their association with anger and violence — tell us something about the fundamental root of the problem for anti-social male misfits like Elliot Rodger? And isn’t this something feminist theory tends to ignore?
Having myself long since become accustomed to the effects of testosterone — which all males experience naturally — I think feminists could learn something useful from “23xx,” something their quasi-Marxist cultural theories are inadequate to explain.