My last post, “Rant About Being AFAB
,” was more of a general outcry against people (particularly AMAB GNC people) who brush aside AFAB GNC people, and AFAB people in general, for being AFAB, because the oppression of AMAB GNC people can never be even close to understandable for AFAB people.
I was born female. I have been and still am called a girl for essentially my whole life, and in spite of, and to some extent, because of this, I am not a girl. Or rather, not only a girl. There are many people like me, who are born female and reject the female role and it’s entailments and expectations that come with it. Some of these people are men, some of these people identify as non-binary or even agender.
What I feel is important about this state of non-conformity, is that, at least for me, I was never able to accept the way I was being treated- for being a girl! People would tell me that girls were just as good as boys, but even now, almost two decades into this mess and people still rebuke me for being too masculine, or admonish me to “embrace my femininity.” I’m held to a standard of less- less smart, less education, less strength… I could go on for ages, but I’ve made posts about that before.
No one likes to be devalued. It’s fundamentally against the grain of the value of each person to be devalued, and people instinctively push back against it. Some people do so by killing themselves inside, destroying the part of them that feels the pain of being crushed by society’s expectations. Some people commit suicide, because of bullying or even just because their ability to attribute value to themselves as people has been lost. Some change, reject the expectations or change them for themselves to mean something else (I beleive this is called weaponized femininity). And some simply don’t and never will fit those expectations. Many experience all four.
Gender non-conforming people take a special place in my heart, and not just because I am one. Neither of the gender roles provided by society are good enough to be forced on actual human beings. They’re illogcial, hurtful, messy, and insidious. For AFAB GNC people, being seen as someone outside of girl- not only girl, more than girl, never girl at all- can be liberating. Here are people who, most of or all of their lives, have been pressed into a mold that just didn’t fit- but when they step outside of that, they access something called “male privilege.” This is the respect and generally humane treatment most consistently seen when directed towards male people.
Yes, society values masculinity, and yes, it’s shitty that people are expected to be masculine in order to earn/deserve respect. But it is even shittier to take these people- these AFAB people, who have finally acheived an understanding of themselves from which they can PUSH BACK and REFUSE to be treated as subhuman- and tell them they’d better kowtow to women, don’t identify as male, don’t have anything to do with cis men, and whatever you do, DON’T ACCESS MALE PRIVILEGE.
Because the shitty thing about male privilege is not that men get it, or even that it exists. The shitty thing is that only men and masculine people get it. Don’t tell people not to have male privilege, be male, or be treated with the respect alloted to men- acknowledge and respect women, treat them with every respect and kindness. Listen to their words, their thoughts, let them be angry and gross and loud and really shitty people, just like men and masculine people are.
AFAB GNC people are looking for a way out of the misogyny we so hate- don’t tell them they should reject the respect they change themselves to achieve.