Is Being a Woman All That It’s Cracked Up to Be?

On April 16, 2010, Vexing wrote at Feministing that she’s frustrated with the transgendered females she’s met who don’t acknowledge that becoming female has caused them to lose privilege. (For a discussion of privilege, see yesterday’s post.) She wants to know how to convince them that when they were gender-normative males (meaning their gender identity matched their genitalia), they had male privilege and that once they transitioned to female, they lost it.

Vexing’s frustration comes from the reactions she’s received from these transgendered females. They don’t see a problem at all. She hypothesizes that they are so thrilled with being female that they’re willing to put up with the sexism and discrimination that comes with it. Some even appear to welcome it, as a kind of proof that they are indeed being accepted as women.

It’s not just transgendered females who feel this way. Plenty of gender-normative women seem willing to accept what society dishes out because “after all, it goes with the territory.” These women usually insist that the benefits of being women—being sought after sexually, protected and supported, able to have children, and not having to work—far outweigh the possible deficits—being abused sexually, controlled and mistreated, left high and dry when they become pregnant, and not being able to find meaningful work that pays well.

A woman who refuses to call herself a feminist is one divorce or beating away from becoming one. Everything’s fine as long as she gets to be the star of her perfect little life. But when reality sets in, when she experiences the negative side of being female, when she wakes up and realizes that men get a larger share of the pie than women do, then she may begin to wonder if being a woman is all that it’s cracked up to be.

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