Caricatures of Cis Roles or Gender Aberrations: We Can’t Win
I’m feeling argumentative today, so I wanted to talk about something that’s been on my mind recently. In my humble experience in the digital and real world, a complaint about trans people that I’ve seen is that we enforce harmful gender stereotypes by aspiring to embody the epitome of outdated gender stereotypes. Basically, they’re saying that all trans women want to be big-boobed bimbos and that all trans men watch Wolf of Wall Street once and think “Yeah… yeah that’s what I want.”
What’s insinuated here is that by going against gender stereotypes, we’re… playing into gender stereotypes? By “becoming” men or women that perpetuate specific, exaggerated, and possibly antiquated examples of gender roles, we’re doing more harm than good. The whole point of feminism is to eliminate gender stereotypes, particularly those around women, right? So, by becoming what we “think” a woman or man is based on skewed cultural ideals, it has negative repercussions for cis feminists who are trying to show that women and men can stray from harmful gender roles. I think the second part is great, but trans people are not oppressing you from doing that. Mostly trans women are policed for this, chastised for allegedly being super girly, immature, and “bimbofied,” but trans men also take some heat for apparently overcompensating with toxic masculinity.
Obviously, there’s so much wrong with this. As trans people, we all know this firsthand. This implies that trans people are only binary, first of all, which is incorrect. Nonbinary people of all shapes and sizes (not just people named “Frog” or people with pixie cuts and bowties, though you’re all valid lol) have been here forever. Second of all, these critiques also generalize a whole group of people. Trans people are literally just trying to vibe and be ourselves, yet we’re all painted as gender clowns. What’s more, we’re assumed to be doing caricatures of cis gender standards to get attention. Usually, trans women are the ones who are accused of doing this to steal cis men and plot against women… right.