Misogyny: Call me Honey, Sweetie, Baby
by Mila Madison
It is a word we often hear, misogyny. It is something every woman deals with on a daily basis. For the transgender woman it is also something we experience, but there is sometimes a sad caveat, the validation of our gender identity. As a feminist, experiencing misogyny quite frankly ticks me off. On the other hand I feel guilty for liking the fact that it makes me feel validated as a woman. This is something that is unique to transgender women. Yes we are equally offended, but also proud that we go through the same crap as every other woman in the world. It is confusing when you think about it.
Before we go any further, let’s be clear on what misogyny is:
mi·sog·y·ny*noun*dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.
A few weeks ago I was having a problem with my kitchen sink. The pipes below it were getting old and starting to leak. They were made of PVC and they needed to be replaced. Now let me be perfectly clear, I have always been challenged by any kind of construction, plumbing or electrical work regardless of how I may have been presenting myself at any given time. However I am ambitious and I decided to watch a few YouTube videos on replacing the pipes and decided to head down to the Home Depot.
This is where my usual experience has changed. When presenting as male and going to the Home Depot, I would usually have to look all over the place to find someone to assist me with what I was looking for and to answer questions, as I always had them. Normally I would feel inadequate as they would talk to me like I should know what I am doing or talking about. Now here I am with my long blond hair flowing and I have 4 guys coming up to me and offering help. As we looked for the pieces of piping I would need to replace, one of the confused men assisting me finally said what the other guys were all thinking, “who is doing this work, you?” “Yes, I am” I responded. “But who is going to help you?” said one of the other male employees. Not one to lie about it, I quickly responded “well, my wife!” At this point their interest in helping me seemed to wane. Maybe it was because I am married to a woman, I don’t really know, but the “honey and sweetie” treatment immediately stopped as no further words were said other than “well have a good day Ma’am.” Luckily I had what I needed and I was on my merry way.
“I WAS EQUALLY INCOMPETENT AT ALL TIMES, BUT TREATED DIFFERENTLY BECAUSE OF MY GENDER PRESENTATION.”
On one hand I was thinking about what jerks these guys were. I mean just to assume I couldn’t handle the work because I was female made me angry. For a male, the ability to do the job is assumed. I have presented at the Home Depot as both male and female in my lifetime. I was equally incompetent at all times, but treated differently because of my gender presentation. And here is the part where I feel guilty. As angry as I was, I was also elated that they saw me just as they see any other woman. I was happy that I received the same discrimination as my cisgender sisters. I felt a sense of validation, but I also felt guilty for it.
“I AM STILL GETTING USED TO MEN CALLING ME HONEY, SWEETIE AND BABY.”
I am still getting used to men calling me honey, sweetie and baby. Even men I knew as my former self treat me differently these days. I am getting used to people cutting me off when I speak. I am getting used to not being taken as seriously as I used to. Men are often just given rights out of assumption. It is strange because who I am inside has never changed. My ability to think is the same. The only difference is that I now see things more clearly. Many of my transgender male friends can also attest to the fact that they are now treated differently . The reality is that this is all based on how we present ourselves. This is the silliness of gender roles. I mean who really knows what is going on underneath our clothes? Is this really all about long hair, clothing and makeup? It is silly.
Society treats the transgender community as “less than”. It is a sad reflection of it that we can sometimes feel validated when we receive the same unethical treatment as groups that are more accepted. Misogyny is unacceptable regardless. It is experienced by all women. Transgender women and cisgender women are all women. Only our journeys are different. We are all sisters. If some women don’t see us that way that is fine, but they take the side of the mysogynists when they do so. They can’t expect fair treatment for their group if they impose the same unfairness to others. I look forward to the day when misogyny just simply offends me as it does every other woman. But the truth is a part of me feels validated by it, and I also feel guilty about it.
Stay safe and keep fighting for all of us!
Love and peace,