Tops & Bottoms!


Following on from GallusMag’s brilliant post about the language of trans:

Other curiosities of the language of transgenderism include the infantilization and pedomorphism implied by the language they use to describe (and obfuscate) the body mods they adopt, and the language they use to describe their experiences of them. “Top surgery” and “Bottom surgery” are good examples.

Yes indeed GallusMag, the language is ‘curious’. I agree that the language is ‘infantilizing and pedomorphism’, but that there is more to this simplistic reductionism, it is also the focus and nature of that focus that sheds more light on what males think that females are.

Firstly and foremost, the male brain seems obsessed with reducing women into a series of body parts, sexualised body parts. This is easily seen in porn, specifically porn lite, breasts being the first focus, labia and pubic region secondly. The premise behind this focus is “look, different! not male!”. Hardcore porn varies the script just a little, but is nothing more than a focus of where the penis can be used, reductionism of the female (person) into a series of holes to be used for male masturbatory pleasure. It is all ‘othering’ and objectifying. In this world view, the default human is considered male, and anything not-male is ‘other’.

It is therefore no surprise that when a male, any male, including M2T males, think of what makes ‘woman’ are those primary sexual features. ‘Woman’ is not a person, woman is a ‘not-male’ with different sex bits. It is simplistic (and infantile) reductionist thinking.

Women think of themselves as ‘person’. A female person who just happens to have those primary sex markers of breasts and female genitals. We are person first, the other stuff is part of us, but it is not just us. We are not a sum of body parts. Surgically appropriating those body parts just makes a replica of the female. Barbie is a replica of a female, but is not an adult human female.

Enough of the rad-101 already!

I have outlined how simplistic (infantile) reductionism is the male view of what makes ‘woman’. Here’s where it gets interesting. On the same thread, FCM made a comment:

i always read some BDSM into the top/bottom thing. theres probably something there, since trans/sex-poz/BDSM overlap so often, but i like your explanation of infantalizing better.

Yes! I posit that it is both the infantile reductionism AND the bdsm viewpoint.

It is true that the transactivists, sex pozzies and bdsmers are all in bed with one another, the ‘trilogy of kink’. Was it any surprise that transactivists were welcomed with open arms onto the sex pozzie sites? Nope. In fact, that was the final clue that I needed that all this trans stuff is not edgy and breaking down the gender roles and hierarchy at all, but was reinforcing them. Sure, the sex pozzies and bdsmers ‘think’ they are breaking down the sex/gender hierarchy with their play acting and dress-ups, but it is still keeping that hierarchy firmly intact. Swapsies from one to the other (top/bottom in bdsm-speak) still keeps that binary firmly in place. It is the epitomy of that binary, and celebrates it with lots of expensive and thoroughly stupid-looking props. Actually, if you dig deep enough, you will find that most of the bdsm ‘activists’ actually run businesses that profit from bdsm props. Quelle surprise. Not. I digress.

Many trans actually embrace the dichotomy of what they see ‘woman’ to be. ‘Woman’ is submissive, masochistic, laydee-like, loves shopping and pretty things. All the crap that holds up the sex/gender role binary. They see ‘woman’ as the bottom in the sex role hierarchy.

It is fetishizing our not-asked-for role within the gender binary and hierarchy. It is insulting to FAABs, treated as second-rate and of the sex-class from birth, the role assigned to us that we do not want, and completely anti-feminist (funfems, take note).

Fetishizing ‘woman’ as the bottom is therefore a false impression of “what a woman feels like”. It is an outsiders’ view, one that assumes we enjoy and revel in our assigned role. We most certainly do not, even if many women resign themselves to their role and see no way out, that is not the same as enjoying it.

Failed ‘masculinity’ does not a woman make.

Joy said of her uncle:

My aunt, who transitioned and had total SRS at midlife, said, “Being a man was too hard. I could never live up to the standards and expectations. Being a woman seemed easier.”

Again, instead of rebelling against the artificial gender roles, the assumption is “I can’t do ‘man’ (masculinity), I must therefore be ‘woman'”. Wrong! That’s that dichotomic thinking again. Being not one thing does not automatically mean you are the other (and ten points for ‘othering’ again). I am a failed ‘feminine woman’, but that does not mean I am a man, I am female, and by definition, adult human female = woman, no matter how I look/dress/behave. Here’s the clue: the gender roles made up by patriarchy are complete and utter bullshit.

The tops/bottoms of bdsm uphold a dominance/submission binary, masculinity/femininity are an aesthetic (gender role) binary, ‘transitioning’ uphold a gender (role) binary, is it any wonder that trans so readily adopt the language of bdsm? It is no coincidence.

11 thoughts on “Tops & Bottoms!

  1. ball buster

    Oooh I’ve seen statements like this before – “I’m not good at working on cars, I’m a bad breadwinner, I don’t like to fist fight, therefore I must be a woman.”

    It’s so infuriating. It’s basically saying that women are just failed, substandard men. Like we’re just castrated, cheap knock offs of the ‘genuine human’ – i.e. men. More than that, it reinforces the idea that aggressive, car and money obsessed men are indeed, the true and valid expression of manhood.

    The more I read about the trans stuff, the more I’m convinced it IS all about the gender binary, not breaking free of it. That’s how I know my personal mission in life differs from transactivism – I don’t believe in validating gender roles at all. That’s what the trans people seem to be doing. I have no problem with people dressing outside of what’s considered acceptable by mainstream society. I do, however, have a problem with people demanding me to accept gender roles as a valid *because* mainstream society has defined it as such.

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  2. paleotrees

    Hey, FABLibber, it’s Joy. Thanks for quoting me — I thought that quote was incredibly telling, too.

    It’s easy for me (another “failed feminine” woman) to understand why females seek reassignment surgery, but it’s seemed hard to understand why men would want to do it. That quote clicked it in my brain for me, and the answer is simply, “The lie of gender.” It proved, as if I needed proof, that the idea of gender is dangerously limiting, and also that apparently everyone and their uncle (ha!) eats that horseshit up with a spoon.

    Anyway, I’m one of the people who’s been visiting your blog and not commenting, because I hadn’t signed up for WordPress yet. Keep on keepin’ on. Your posts are excellent.

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  3. FAB Libber

    Thanks Joy.
    I will expand on the various aspects in due course (failed masculinity, bigger fish in a smaller pond, etc). I am just getting started, so some of these posts I guess are a bit basic, but I like to start from the ground up.

    You can change you screen name to Joy in WP. Just go to My Account, Edit My Profile, and change the ‘Display name publicly as’. Easy peasy.
    (Just a note though, that you next comment with the new screen name will go into mod for the first time)

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    1. FAB Libber

      Actually, we should really just settle on one term (by popular consensus). I am liking M2T, because that is exactly what it is. Male to Transexual.

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  4. ajill

    I don’t like using the word “sex” in this at all. MtD. Male to dysmorphism.

    I think we have to work at making sure people see you CANNOT ever change your sex.

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      1. bluetravelerforrealz

        I’m using Cyborg because some transpeople used it for themselves, and because it’s the truth: it really has nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with alienation!

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  5. Pingback: M2T the underlying reasons | twanzphobic since forever

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