1/19/2007

Question for the bathosphere

In my still forthcoming mockage of Lucknkl and Heart's asshollery in the big IBTP transphobia blowup (The only reason I'm still writing it is because it has some good snark and a rant against the pasty white middle class racist suffragettes who get the credit for universal suffrage for obvious reasons).

Anyhoo... While writing it the idea for a tongue in cheek third class to the hardcore Oppressive Classes Theories that tend to end up with unweildly binary world view, this is as a mockage the Class Man/Class Woman theories used by certain confems, and what I've come with is a third, "tain't", class.

The Tain't Class for the confem theory is of course transpeople, who are neither neatly Class Men nor neatly Class Women*, and this leads me to having to ask the PoC in the audience: Is it okay if I compare transpeople to people of mixed race, as another example of a "tain't" Class?

Because afaik they had a similar treatment and rejection from the early blackpower and civil rights movements for pretty much the same reason (well, sort of) transwomen are kept out of women only areas like abuse shelter and MWMF by so called radfems, they weren't black enough to be accepted by the black power movement, but not white enough to actually have any of that white privelage they were accused of having by the black power movements that rejected them** and so were scrwed by both groups, one in the name of freedom, and the other as a side effect of the first's oppression.

Thus tain't: Tain't accepted by one, tain't accepted by the other. Also those binary theories tend to have to erase such people to make the theory fit the observed data (which is a sneaky thing - you're not allowed to choose your observed data to fit your theories, because you have to make the theories to fit the data), thus making it a double entendre on the fact that those people "tain't there" and do not actually exist as far as the theories go.

And of course once I thought about this some more I realised that Bisexuals fit into that "Class" as well, I've heard homosexuals and hets seriosuly have deep conversations with each other about the untrustworthiness of bisexuals, and the general biphobia in aspects of the Gay/Lesbian community are well known as is the fact that a bisexual is basically just another sort of fag to heteronormative society, het porn not withstanding.

And of course after all that htere's things like... my deep seated hatred for the middle classes, which might get them in there too, if I wasn't so sure that middle classes really were, more often than not (and I accept relativity style breakdowns of this statement at extremes, for instance the extremely lower middle classes), suffering from a shit load of class privelage that neither of the other three groups could ever hope to achieve.

Anyway, thoughts, opinions and applications are welcome, I for one am actually interested to see where my brain follows this weird concept, and would be interested to see if anyone else's brain goes any where interesting as well.

* Though I see no personal reason why I shouldn't take their word for it with regard to what gender they are, mainly because my conception of womanhood doesn't feel threatened by tranwomen, and I'd be kinda disgusted with myself if I realised that I'd started acting like it was, nothing uglier than an insecure person after all.

** This is probably an imperfect analogy because there were mixed race people who actually were granted a greater amount of freedom by our white supremicist society because they passed the Brown Paper Bag Test and such, but those extremely light skinned mixed race people would correspond more with transmen, some of whom probably do receive male privelage as long as they can pass well enough, but transwomen and the darker skinned mixed race people definately don't, but are/were rejected anyway.

3 comments:

queer dewd formerly known as ( ) said...

unfamiliar with that aspect of black power movement, so I don't know. i'd say it's much more reasonably akin to the crap that used to go on and still does in faint form to bisexuals.

there's also a general problem with likening one form of oppression to another, when you're not a member of the group(s) being so likened. There was a lot of resentment when feminists and soon after gay libs decided to insist that their oppression was just like that of blacks in the u.s.

another thought: was the term privilege even operative at all during the height of black power movement? b/x I think it's relatively 'new' in the lexicon of anti-oppression work. it gets tossed around a lot, but there are different meanings to its usage -- contested as it were. i'm not sure if people even thought that much in terms of white skinprivilege back then. after all, their basic struggles then were much more basic: they didn't even have basic civil rights such as voting. the vast economic disparity. the all to recent history of jim crow. the legal institutionalization of segregation.

ahh. need more coffee. apologize that this is so incoherent. just random thoughts.

Sylvia said...

I understand what you mean in generalized terms, but like QD said, comparing them to specific oppressions does get problematic. I think little light talked about it in one of her discussion posts, or she may have mentioned it at bfp's post between transwomen and women of color -- namely the idea of the "mixed" class, the "mestiza," forces people on the margins of oppressed classes so their contributions and perspectives are conspicuously ignored or minimized. Perception of some partial status trumps engagement because the desire for complete unity and pride in one's group depends on accepting the arbitrarily defined stereotypes of the group. (I think that's where the problem mostly lies, but I could be interpreting it incorrectly.)

sly civilian said...

you may run up pretty hard on "tragic figure" discourses, and other tropes of bi-racial idenity.

i think there's some meaningful material to be drawn out of the purity anxiety, but it's tricky to avoid romanticizing the double exclusion as the ideologically pure third position.