Friday, March 28, 2008

in other news...

So i meant to blog about this a while ago (like when it actually came out) but one thing led to another and i just didn't. deal with it. moving on, the new york times magazine "recently" featured an article entitled "when girls will be boys," about transmen at women's colleges. I read it kind of expecting it to be terrible, and was pleasantly surprised. Aside from the typical title and an awkward usage of the word "razzed" (who says that anymore?), the article was actually pretty good. of course it had its issues, which i'll lay out below as i love to do, but on the whole i'd recommend reading it. It seemed like the author tried pretty hard to write an interesting and honest article.

There was not too much mention of transwomen in the article, which isn't necessarily a problem since it was pretty specifically an article about transmen, but it did sort of make me wonder whether a similar article about transwomen would go over as easily (hint: probs not). which got me thinking all sorts of thoughts about gender and life, but i'll spare you.

So the one beef i had with the article was this: there was NO kind of mention of class anywhere in it, and the author talks about the "possibility of needing extra insurance," and casually mentions Rey's payment for testosterone and top surgery out-of-pocket as if its no thing. Now i'm no expert on "money" (god knows i'm no expert on money) but i'm pretty sure those things are pretty expensive. and i'm almost positive that MY insurance doesn't cover them. and my insurance covers a whole hell of a lot. the whole article is sort of written as if the only people who go through any sort of transition re: gender identity are wealthy (white) well-educated, "artsy" type hipsters and gays. and there are definitely those people, but ignoring all the poor people and the people of color within the transgender/genderqueer community seems to do a pretty big disservice all around in that it erases their stories, and kind of de-legitimizes the experiences of those well-to-do people, making their transition seem more like a fad than a legit experience.

Other than that though, good article. I encourage you to read it, and leave you to ponder the main point of the article: transmen at women's colleges - how do we feel? are they intruders? i mean i'd say sort of obviously no because as anyone who's study gender theory for one second or less would know, our society's gender issues can't be simplified into "man versus woman." so talking about transmen as boys trying to infiltrate a space for women is sort of like saying biracial students are just white people trying to infiltrate HBCUs. and on the subject of HBCUs, is it actually even legal to tell transmen they can't go to women's colleges? maybe i'm wrong about this, but i thought white people COULD go to HBCUs, just usually don't. wouldn't the same kind of rule apply re: gender?

anyways, ponder it. i especially liked the line about women's colleges serving simultaneously as "finishing schools and as incubators of American feminism." what a conundrum!

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