Archive for September, 2009

male bodies and objectification

I wanted to write for a moment about the objectification of male bodies, specifically male identified trans bodies.  This comes from a couple different places.  In the past month, I was asked out by a non trans, cisgendered, straight identified, white, upper class male.  There is too much to be said about our specific interaction.  I will share that it sparked thoughts about the objectification of my body.  The tokenization of trannies.  A little while ago, I also read a post about a new call to focus on transmen within the queer movement.  The persyn talked about how transmen, when passed as male, are viewed positively.  (There is much more to be said about this as a larger subject.  I wholeheartedly agree that transwomen are almost always portrayed negatively.  They become objects to rape, beat, use, and kill.  What is viewed as “a man in a dress” can never be taken seriously in the United States until all systems of domination are dismanlted.  I am sure this is true in many places, but I will not try to claim what I do not know.)  

What did it mean, then, for me to be objectified in the way I did?  If transmen are suppose to be supported, someone to date, an example of triumph, what the hell did my experience mean?  

Then I thought about it: masculinity.  Masculinity allows for the man to be desired two acceptable (read: masculine) reactions.

One:  If a man objectifies you: disgust.  A man in this situation should make a fag joke, physically harm the other man, and or not talk about being objectified.

Two: If a woman objectifies you: strut.  A man in this situation should talk about the desirability of the woman, nonchalantly speak about past sexual conquers, and or dominate the situation.

There is no room to speak about one’s body getting objectified.  That is understood as a situation where the man is desired, not turned into something.  If I choose to recognize when I am being objectified, I lose any chance of passing.  If I forget to claim these experiences, then a misunderstood representation of the trans male body is recorded, understood, and interpreted.

Maybe this has something to do with the representations of different trans bodies.  It is masculinity and femininity and cultural constructions of each.  It doesn’t give me any advice but it helps me to understand myself and my body with the spaces I travel.


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