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i need to do homework but instead i’m trying to be a voice of reason about why cis people should try to understand, when people say “damn you cis people” it’s implied that “damn you cis people who do horrible things”, because if you don’t do those things, a) it can remind you to continue being good about it and b) you can feel satisfaction at being a good ally to people.
i really need to stop getting into debates on tumblr though. xD but my homework is so boring…. at least here i’m attempting to educate people
Haha I probably shouldn’t be replying to this but I found it kind of interesting. I understand what’s implied, but that phrase has always sort of rubbed me the wrong way. Not really in a direct sense but it seems that I just tend to have negative reactions to whatever comes next you know? It’s like that post a little while ago that said “fucking white people”.. like it’s a generalization and I don’t understand why it’s considered to be ok. I wouldn’t go around saying “damn trans* people” or anything like that. I guess that’s not a very accurate comparison but that’s what I think of when I see/hear it. I can’t articulate a reason why you /shouldn’t/ use that phrase, but I guess I would just advise against it because it could alienate cisgendered people from being allies.
Well see, that’s exactly what we were talking about. You should be one of the proud people who is willing to learn and develop and not be an asshole. xD
I can understand the knee-jerk “WTF how dare you” attitude. However, it’s important to move past that and understand where the other person is coming from. If it’s that likely to alienate cis people, they seem like the type of cis people who don’t take well to being told they’re wrong in any way shape or form. I kind of tend to assume that if they’re willing to learn, or have a polite discussion, then they’re still capable of being an ally, even if upset. If they’re not, then they’d make shitty allies anyway.
But basically, I’m going to pull up something I just wrote so I don’t have to keep retyping things I’ve done today! Yay copy/paste!
Late to the party on this, but I was just engaged in a debate about the name of the blog. Yeah, not all cis people are assholes. Not all of them are cissexist.“One of the hallmarks of cissexism (any -ism, really) is not knowing that you’re cissexist. It’s an unfortunate societal attitude that people who aren’t cis can be treated in lots of demeaning, hurtful ways - knowingly or not. Very few people who are racist/sexist/ableist/etc think they are. That’s why saying “dear cissexist cis people” doesn’t work - they don’t think they’re doing anything wrong, and won’t pay any attention to the messages from people who have been hurt or oppressed.”
Here’s what I had to say on the matter, basically:
So, it really would need the people who need to see it to be very aware of being bigots. Which bigots typically aren’t. I understand the frustration of constantly having people get offended, especially when it’s something that truly doesn’t apply to them. Although I get the feeling that the people who are getting extremely offended may fall into the group of people unsettled and reflexively angered because “it never mattered before, why is it an issue now?” I know I do that at times with some things. Part of being an adult human being, though, is accepting when you’re wrong and learning to get over it and grow. The people who this clearly doesn’t pertain to can be proud that they’re not like the people being called out, and use it as a reminder for the future.
Obviously this bars the people who are curious - “what are cissexist cis people?” “what are the cissexist bigots doing now?” but that portion of the population is so low compared to the audience that should be aware of these things that it’s just not practical.
When we’re angry, we generalize, and we trust people to know that we’re generalizing. Obviously not everyone in a group is the same person. It’s up to the individual to think, ‘do I act like this?’ and if the answer is yes, take note. if the answer is no, then they get to step back and say “fuck yeah, I’m so much less douchey than them” and make sure they keep not being an asshole.
The very last note: Many people who face this sort of bigotry don’t give a shit about offending ‘potential allies’. It gets tiring. If someone sees you and slaps you in the face - even lightly, like a pretend slap - EVERYWHERE YOU GO, you eventually get bruises. All that pressure, all the friction, from even the lightest touches - if you pass 200 people on the street, it happens 200 times. And it hurts. And you get tired of wondering, “why do they do that?” and explaining time and time again why it’s not okay to smack your face, even lightly, even as a joke. You have a black eye, bruised cheek, bloody nose. You don’t care who’s up next, you just want to scream at them to stop before they even touch you.
So, yeah, it can be hard for cis allies to hear that sort of thing. But consider all the shit the non-cis people have to go through every day to get to that point, you know? When you’re hurt, scared, and angry, you lash out. It’s up to those of us who aren’t in that position to understand why it happens and stop it in the future.
> note: I’m always up for answering questions, I hope you don’t read this as rude. The truth of it can be hard though. xD I’m always personally glad and willing to try and explain stuff so it makes sense.
No, no didn’t read as rude. What you said makes a lot of sense and I guess now that I’ve read it I won’t have as bad of a reaction when I see the phrase (hopefully), but I guess I still wonder if there’s a better way. I /don’t/ think that “cissexist people” would really be any better, in fact it might be worse. There is a such a stigma attached to it like “sexist” or “racist” that I think instead of compelling people to change their behavior it will just make them upset OR accept the label. The problem is that when we call some some sort of ‘ist’ word it’s implied that they’re some sort of evil person and that the behavior they exhibit is somehow inherent in their being and there’s no way to change it. I don’t think it’s ever made people think twice about what they’re doing.
This also made me think about that video that Nathan posted on facebook a few days ago… Some of the things in that video I know /I/ had been guilty of doing at one point or another and I couldn’t come up with any cis people that hadn’t done one of those things or that I couldn’t easily imagine doing one of those things. And I guess IMO that’s a really big challenge that trans* people face because almost everyone has had some sort of cissexist influence in their lives but no one wants to believe they are a bad person. So really the focus should be on the behavior rather than the person… I guess?
I have so many other things swirling around in my head but I don’t know how to say them sooo I hope that makes sense because I’m feeling rather unorganized as you can probably tell from my giant run on sentences oh hey here’s another one.
Well okay, let’s pick this apart.
“I /don’t/ think that “cissexist people” would really be any better, in fact it might be worse. There is a such a stigma attached to it like “sexist” or “racist” that I think instead of compelling people to change their behavior it will just make them upset OR accept the label.”
If someone calls you racist, you think about what you said. If someone tells you that you’re being -ist, because you’re a reasonable person, you stop. If I tell you to not make fun of someone in a wheelchair, or a blind person, because it’s being ableist? you stop. Being called out does change your behavior, just like it changes many peoples. If you do something that hurts someone, like stand on their foot or poke them too hard, even if you didn’t mean to, you apologize and quit. It’s the nature of being a decent human.
There’s a name for discriminatory behavior. Racist. Ableist. Cissexist. Calling it by a different name doesn’t make it go away. It makes the people who perpetuate those attitudes feel fine about it, since it’s obviously no big deal. It makes it sound and feel unpleasant. Being called out is hard and unpleasant, like burning yourself or breaking a bone. Why? It teaches you to not do that shit again.
The word is meant to denote a behavior - you can be racist. You can be cissexist. It’s not inherently a personality trait for many people, it’s an attitude that society taught you that you perpetuate without realizing it. There is a stigma - because it’s bad. It’s bad to discriminate because someone is female. It’s bad to discriminate because someone is gay. It’s bad to discriminate because someone is deaf. It can, and frequently does, have fatal consequences for the people being discriminated against. Trans* people have much higher suicide rates than lots of other minorities (and that’s not even considering intersectionality of race/poverty/gender/disability). I won’t soften the blow when I tell someone to stop being an asshole. I’m not going to cater to their feelings when they do something with potential consequences to someone’s mental and physical health. I’m going to say, “Hey asshole, knock that shit off.”
The focus is on both people and behavior. People are the ones who perpetuate the behavior. If you’re acting cissexist, it’s a behavior learned by a person. The person can choose to stop the behavior. It’s about personal choice and responsibility when being called out.
Yeah, lots of people have done hurtful things without knowing. That doesn’t make them bad people - it does make them cissexist ones. The difference is when they have the opportunity to change, when they’re made aware of it despite society saying “fuck these minorities, step all over them, it doesn’t matter”. Do they try and change, or do they keep doing it? If they try to rectify their behavior, they are people who can sometimes be -ist. If they don’t care, then they are -ist people.
Woah woah woah, that’s not what I meant at all. I mean that there’s a difference between saying someone’s behavior is cissexist and saying that someone IS a cissexist. (I might be wrong) but I don’t consider myself to be a cissexist, although I have unknowingly said things that some would consider to be cissexist or hurtful things. I just don’t think it’s fair to say that someone is cissexist as a person if they unwittingly offend someone. Like you said, the difference is if they rectify or care about their behavior.
Someone’s behavior isn’t that seperate from who they are. It’s a part of the individual. The difference is when they become aware of it. Racist people are racists. Once they realize they’re racist, they can try to put it aside and become people who are only sometimes accidentally racist. Otherwise they’re still racist. It’s just a fact of being a person - if you perpetuate a negative idea, you are of the group that perpetuates a negative idea. Meaning to or no, it doesn’t change the fact that a cissexist, ableist, racist, or classist comment is cissexist, ableist, racist, or classist. You are ableist if you perpetuate ableist ideas. You may not mean to be, but in the 40’s, people didn’t realize they were racist. Does that mean they magically weren’t? They were still racist, they just didn’t realize it.
You can be something and not realize. The tipping point is when you become aware. Who you are, as an identity, is made up of lots of things - wants, needs, favorite things, and actions. If you’re that guy who’s always tapping his pencil, you’re a pencil-tapper. If you’re someone constantly oppressing the poor, you’re a classist. If the guy becomes aware of his annoying pencil habit and tries to break it, he becomes someone who sometimes accidentally still taps his pencil. If the oppressive force realizes it’s doing it and tries to stop, it becomes the force that is generally not but still occasionally oppressive. Eventually he may graduate to non-pencil tapping, and never have it be a problem. The force may become a supporting one instead. It takes time to train away parts of yourself that are ingrained without knowing it. It’s called breaking a habit. Whether it be speech or toe-tapping, it’s still a part of you in some small way.
Regardless of what it means or what you say it means, what I was trying to get across was the idea of permanence that is placed on it in our culture, as with anything. Intelligence may be something that can change over a lifetime but our culture believes that a stupid person is always and forever a stupid person. In reference to changing people’s behavior, it may not be the best tactic. But that is all just conjecture on my part.
It just seems to me that people don’t tend to change if there’s no hope that they can.
But changing peoples’ behavior is the only way to 1) stop people from being discriminated against, 2) stop people from perpetuating the idea that discrimination is fine, 3) show people that it can change and that harmful ideas, even being brought up that way, can be rectified, and that there is hope for others to change in that way. Really changing peoples’ behavior bit by bit is the only way to affect any real change at all.
When segregation/slavery/etc was legal, it was people changing that behavior and realizing they were bigots and standing up for the rights of their fellow humans of color.
The gay rights movements are based on changing behaviors associated with the treatment of non-straight individuals.
So, you can’t really say that we shouldn’t change peoples’ behaviors because it will make it harder - complacency is what kills. Standing up for yourself and educating people and demanding that they treat you with dignity and human respect is the only way to get shit done.
??? When did I say not to change people’s behavior? I said the opposite. I was questioning what the best way to achieve that was.