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Crossdressing isn’t compassion.Stop thinking it is.

This has started doing the rounds on social media.

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Get it? ‘Cos misogyny and Share if you think it’s bad which is a super effective strategy? Also let’s keep the body dimensions in line with traditional gender stereotyping, ‘cos those standards need to be kept.

I’m going to beg you stay with me on this, because I rode in on my high horse for this one.

Wearing clothing designed for traditionally women’s figures, or doing things that society ascribed as feminine does not qualify you as compassionate or empathetic to women or their rights to safety, respect and equality of all kinds.

Now I understand women’s pain! Men teeter in stilettos to raise awareness for domestic violence (Daily Mail)

I make every effort I can to err on the side of caution when it comes to distributing my opinion in the feminist or gender equality discourse because I’m a man and the whole point is that I shut up and actually listen to the person living it. I err on the side of “absorb this, put your stuff in the blog”. Obviously.

There are many people who think that stuffing men into high heels somehow qualifies them as sensitive to the cause. They very well may be, but not because they put high heels on, because they took the time to read about the parameters of inequality, to ask women about their stories and actually listen to them, to take a hard look at how they behave with their sisters, and daughters, partners and mothers and reflect on how that behaviour impacts their female coworkers, transgender neighbours, gay activists.

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This point harks back to how I feel about the Polished Man campaign as well. Although opening up the binaries and boundaries of masculinity to disintegrate tension between all the expressions of the sexes is a crucial concept to reducing violence and prejudice (kudos Jaden Smith and Louis Vuitton), this can’t be tokenistic. Without a real platform and community rising to adopt and adapt, then these token uses of female identifiers to pardon men is doing nothing more than preaching to the converted.

I appreciate that a little humour didn’t hurt the cause, and polished men standing up for women’s rights is better than no men. But let’s just put this idea to bed. Because in spite of all this, for the women who die each day at the hands of an unstable partner, ex-partner, family member or garden-variety asshole or psychopath, it’s super not a joke, hey.

1 reply »

  1. You are correct. Crossdressing is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for being compassionate kr empathetic towards women. There are some feminist crossdressers, there are some fminist trans people. There are plenty of sexist and even misogynist crossdressers too. Indeed sme crossdressers are ardent defenders of patriarchy. However if you ARE empathetic to wonen’s issues, going out into the world fully crossdressed does open your eyes more to what everyday sexism is REALLY about AND you realise just how terrifying it is to be a women. Thanks for this article.

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