Apr. 1st, 2016

dynamite_lady: (Default)
I'm having something of a visceral response to radfem critiques of the posters that have been appearing in public bathrooms in (I think) Bristol, to the effect that any given bathroom user knows their gender status better than the rest of us.

It has been read as another example of '"men"* know better than women', a sentiment which in general is all too common in our society, but which I don't think is going on here. And not just because, as far as I can tell, the posters appear in men's toilets as well.

Why can't we just read the posters as 'X knows more *about X* than anyone else, probably including X's closest associates and certainly including someone whose only acquaintance with X is using the next handwash basin.

My response is visceral because I'm still getting over decades of other people invalidating my experience. Periods, for example. That one tends to come from period-having cis women who think that because theirs doesn't hurt that much, doesn't interrupt their life in any real way, that I must be 'faking' or making drama because actually my life *is* sometimes on hold while I swallow enough pain meds and wait for them to kick in. And political or moral views of any sort. Growing up, I was never allowed to hold any views without them getting dismissed as 'trendy'. I am maybe the least trendy person in existence now, and was less so as a teenager. Then came a whole lot of gaslighting from successive partners, housemates and 'friends', after which I quite frankly felt like a character out of Dollhouse and didn't have a lot of idea who I really was. All because people took exception to any sign that I knew myself better than they did.

And the same people who in their view knew more about what was going on in my body and mind than I did probably do think they know more about this particular facet of the person in the next bathroom stall than that person does. But, assuming the person isn't being a nuisance** maybe it's time to focus on dropping a turd or whatever rather than worry about who else is quietly doing their business along the row.

*I don't think trans women are men. I shouldn't have to point that out if you've read any other posts by me on the subject. But many of the aforementioned critics do think that, so I'm trying to accurately reflect what they find problematic about the posters.
**Being the right gender for a given space doesn't, for example, confer the right to behave creepily. And by the way, men who actively try to be a nuisance in womens' toilets don't generally alter their gender presentation to do so.

August 2016

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