A conversation gleaned from Stardate Whenever –
“I was chatting with one of my managers and he told me he does drag performance and identifies as genderqueer. Which, you know, obviously I disagree with that terminology.
He had just been reprimanded at work for wearing makeup. In the same day that I was reprimanded for not wearing makeup.
And I just kept thinking about how while we framed it differently politically, we both were pissed that we were not allowed to do something because of our sex.
What was interesting is that he framed it as an invalidation of his identity whereas I framed it as an enforcement of my oppression. In my opinion, that is the big difference–I framed it as an oppressive system which people of my sex face, he framed is as a system he had not been allowed to opt out of. So it was the difference between an individual mindset and one of collective action.
Which of course became even more obvious when he explained to me the reasons why I *should* wear makeup to work.”
See the problem? The idea that your ‘identity’ is infringed upon and therefore the battle must be to change the rules within the system so you can validate your choices. The individual battle serves only the individual and as a by-product of the individual struggle the overall system is reinforced.
Is the quality of the choice ever examined? Is the nature of the system ever examined? Nope Nope Nope. The battle for individual identity choice is necessarily framed as making advancement within the oppressive framework of the gender hierarchy, thus to be affirmed in your choice, is simultaneously affirming the validity of the system. The status-quo is not threatened.
In this case the role of gender in society is the overarching problem for both people. Gender is an hierarchy, constructed and designed for use in society to keep one class of people favoured and the other class oppressed.
The battle that should be fought, and is being fought by radical feminists, is not for getting a better a ‘choice’ within a shitty system, but for the destruction/rollback/replacement of the toxic system itself.