August 27, 2012

The Other Side of your Transgender Soul - from Dostoyevski to Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The Anima as the archetypal hero. Joss Whedon
turned the anima archetype upside down, turning the
brainless bimbo (Buffy) and the introvert nerd
(Willow) into fearsome warriors.
Image from the Dark Horse comic book.
Our understanding of what it means to be a woman or a man is changing. That has repercussions for how crossdreamers and transgender people see themselves.

The changing anima 


In my previous posts in my series on transgender psychology I argued that Carl Jung's concept of the anima (the repressed woman withing the man) and the animus (the unconscious masculine side of women) may be useful in a transgender context, but not in the way most people think.

Far too often the anima is understood as a given, biologically determined,  set of feminine personality traits that the man suppresses in order to live up to the masculine stereotype. According to this model the feminine side of man will always be - for instance -- emotional, irrational and opinionated.

But what happens if the cultural stereotypes change?

Will the anima represent the same timeless traits like  -- let's say -- being emotional as opposed to analytical, conflict shy as opposed to aggressive?

I find that very unlikely. The psychological traits found in the anima and animus will change in accordance with what is considered accepted behavior in that culture.

The traditional anima

In the 19th century and much of the 20th century the female archetype or anima appeared in novels written by men as the comforter, the emphatic and forgiving soul, the kind of woman who helps a man reconcile a tortured soul with the undercurrents of nature.  Goethe's Faust had Gretchen. Ibsen's Peer Gynt had Solveig.

In several of Fyodor Dostoyevski's books we meet men who have gone so far in the analytical direction, that they lose touch with Nature, God  or the Harmonious Life (which in Dostoyevski's case seem to be one and the same).



In Crime and Punishment Raskilnikov (which means the divided one) is reconciled with his "feminine side" with the help of the love of Sonia.

In Notes from the Underground , the anima nature of this counterpoint is  even clearer. The repressed nature of the anima is exemplified by the fact that the woman is a prostitute, which --according to the predominant cultural values of the time -- made her filthy. In that book,  there is no reconciliation, as the main character renounces the love of Liza. By paying her for her company, her reduces her to a whore and a whore only.
Fyodor Dostoyevskiy

The reason I call these women anima figures, is that they represent the opposite of the conscious masculine facade these main male characters present to the world.

Goethe actually ended his Faust II with the words "Das Ewig-Weibliche zieht uns hinan" ("The Eternal Feminine draws us onward/upward"), referring, I believe, to the divine road of heart and intuition, as opposed to the sterile ways of the hyper-intellectual mind.

The dynamics between the cold and analytical man and the warm and emotional woman was also found in the popular literature of the day (and still dominates parts  of romantic "chick litt.") Dostoyevskiy was clearly influenced both by popular art as well as  the Christian image of the merciful and compassionate Virgin Mary.

This does not mean that you did not find other female types in the art of the time, like -- let's say -- the femme fatale, but the loving comforter was dominating.

The contemporary woman

Clara Bow Brewster, a flapper and
silent movie star.
In the late 20th century and the early 21st century the character of the female role model started to change. The roaring twenties saw the birth of the independent "flapper", slim, boyish and boisterous.

In the second half of the 20th century he sexy ladies of the James Bond movies were slowly changing from mindless bimbos to independent, intelligent and ruthless murderers, at the same time as James Bond became increasingly more emotional and moody.

The most amazing transformation of them all was created by Joss Whedon, who turned the airhead cheerleader into the archetypal male dragon hunter.

Buffy, the vampire slayer, remains a sexy blonde, but she has now acquired all the characteristic of the archetypal male hero.

For good measure, Whedon also transformed the shy computer geek, Willow -- who incorporates the values of  demure  femininity -- into an evil, powerful, witch, who threatened to bring on the end of the world.

Since then TV has presented a large number of strong and atypical female characters: Veronica Mars, Temperance Brennan of Bones (who is a hyper-analytical anthropologist with Asperger), Claire Danes of Homeland (extremely intelligent and bipolar!), and Audrey Parker of Haven. And then, of course, there is Nancy Botwin of Weeds, suburban house wife made violent drug dealer.

What is truly interesting is that many of these women are not only taking over the aggressive and dominant role of men, they are taking over the typical masculine emotional dysfunctions as well.

The new animus

We have not seen a similar role reversal for the male role models  -- yet. Buffy's lovers remained masculine and powerful men.

Still, it  is interesting to see that both of her vampire boy friends, Angel and Spike, have to get their soul back in order to become human. The Latin word for soul is -- of course -- anima, and it is this traditional feminine side that makes it possible for them to feel remorse and love.
"Doc" and Rebecca from the TV series Alcatraz.
Rebecca is given the traditional male role,
Doc represents stereotypical feminine
personality traits.

Lately we have gotten TV series where the male protagonist clearly reflects personality traits that has traditionally been considered feminine.

In Alcatraz the very feminine looking female lead, Rebecca, plays the traditional male warrior role. She does not hesitate to fight or kill.

Her side kick, Doc Soto, on the other hand, is an empathic and emotional comic book geek who finds the look of blood nauseating.

Admittedly, he is an intellectual, but not in the dominant way of the traditional university professor.

What this trend shift tells me, is that the female and male characters found in art and entertainment, are changing. Given that these characters are both influenced by -- and do influence in their own right -- what is considered acceptable and admirable masculine and feminine behavior, there will be a parallel shift in the anima and the animus of men and women.

The anima and the animus compensate for the suppressed side of the persona and the ego. This means that these archetypes cannot be understood as stable sets of feminine and masculine personality traits. They will have to change as the cultural setting develops.

You could say that Doc is Rebecca's animus. Rebecca is Doc's anima. They both represent the underdeveloped side of the other's psyche, and in this case the traditional gender roles have been switched.

A somewhat similar dynamic is found between Kate Beckett (the dominant cop) and Rick Castle (the more submissive crime author) in the TV series Castle.

We are not there yet....

Alcatraz has now been cancelled. Maybe the Americans were not ready for a male lead with a "feminine" personality.

In other words: There remains a clear unbalance in the struggle for gender equality, as the male role remains the ideal. Women who become strong and dominant are admired, while men who adopt more stereotypical feminine personality traits are ridiculed.

This is probably why male to female transgender are more likely to be made fun of than the female to male ones. Indeed, female to male crossdressers are close to invisible, as it is OK for women to dress like men.

I believe this imbalance is also part of the reason male bodied transgendered people are more easily targeted as perverts and paraphiliacs, while the female bodied crossdreamers are not even on the radar of scientists and moralists.

The "soft man" ridiculed

One episode of the American TV series Rizzoli and Isles makes this imbalance perfectly clear.

Jane Rizzoli is the dominant cop and Maura Isle her intelligent medical examiner (another Aperger!). They are both very strong women, while at the same time being sexually attractive.

In the episode called "I Kissed a Girl" Rizzoli  meets a submissive guy who would like nothing more than stay at home with the kids. It is made abundantly clear that the two women not only find him a weird puzzle; they find him unattractive as well.

The morale of the episode is that women can and should take over the traditional dominant role of men. That is: Women may now be dominant and aggressive, while at the same time remaining sexy and feminine.  Men, on the other hand are weak, pathetic and unattractive if they take over the traditional role of women.

You can see a clip here.

Suppressing your other side

Psychologically this is very important, as it means that female bodied persons are less likely to suppress traditional masculine traits and behavior than male bodied persons are to suppress the feminine ones.

This means that male bodied transgender persons who have typical "feminine" personality profiles are  more likely to develop mental illnesses their female bodied counterparts. This reinforces the idea that men are more likely to be mentally ill, perverted or paraphilic than women. It is a vicious circle, indeed.

You might say that the Rizzoli case tells us of another potential problem:  If we take the liberty of interpreting this episode from a Jungian perspective, Rizzoli is rejecting her own animus as unacceptable. Her hidden "male" side has now become submissive, emotional and domesticated, which is something a strong woman like her cannot admit to.

Still, I doubt that women like her will develop new psychological disorders, caused by them not being allowed to express their "feminine" side.

Women like Rizzoli and Isles are still allowed to cry in each other's arms while sharing buckets of chocolate ice cream. That helps to keep you mentally balanced.

Footnote

Please note that I am talking about personality types and  gender roles in this blogpost. I am not talking about what I call sex identity or sexual identity-- which is often refered to as "gender identity" -- i.e. the individual's conviction or feeling of being a man or a woman.

Doc and Rebecca still identify as man and woman, in spite of them expressing a temperament that has historically been assigned to the other sex.  I will come back to this in the next blog post.

To be continued...

44 comments:

Thorin25 said...

Very interesting. My wife and I are much like the TV show clip. According to marriage books for example, I am far more like the wife's description, and she far more like the husband's description. Except she likes the way I am and is not disgusted by it as the people in the show were. As our culture continually changes in what men and women are like, it seems that the differences are mainly there from person to person, rather than from each sex being so different. In a culture like ours, it is very hard to say what things are true general sex differences, besides our biological differences. Related to this, this is why I have trouble relating to transgendered people. What makes someone feel like a woman in a man's body? Aren't they just thinking about old gender stereotypes that have now changed? I know you have some other posts about this...

Jack Molay said...

@Thorin

"What makes someone feel like a woman in a man's body? Aren't they just thinking about old gender stereotypes that have now changed?"

I think it is important to distinguish between a person's personality profile or "temperament" and the sex identity.

A person can identify full as a woman, and still have personality traits that are normally considered "masculine".

On the other hand a female bodied person may have a male sex identity (being a transsexual man) and still have a predominantly "feminine" personality.

In other words: Sex identity (biology) does not necessarily equal the preferred cultural gender expression.

That being said, most transsexual women not only feel alienated from their male bodies, they also feel alienated from the social role they have to play as male bodied persons.

Kate Frey said...

I live in the US. I'm not a big TV watcher and I'm not up on pop culture but as far as a reinterpretation of femininity and female roles along mythological lines I'd like to mention the character Kara Thrace/Boomer from Battlestar Galactica(Reimagined).The Boomer character in the original 70s show was a young male.In the updated version (a more realistic, darker version of the more cheesy 70s space opera)Boomer/Kara is a Dionysus figure. Her last name is Thrace (area in modern day Bulgaria where Dionysus was popular). Kara gives off strong lesbian vibes but is shown as aggresively hetero.In her romances and love making she knows what she wants and is in charge.

Kara has inner conflicts and at some level is deeply troubled.She's an able commander but occasionally screws up.She's artsy and there's a scene showing mandalas she painted back on her home planet. I haven't seen the last season but apparently she is killed, comes back to live and literally becomes a god/goddess.A conflicted but very likable and compelling character.

Jack Molay said...

@Kate Frey

That is very interesting. I had caught the cross-gender significance of Kara, but not the reference to Dionysus. It makes perfect sense, though, as Dionysus is not only the god of intoxicated ecstasy, but also of instinctual rage.

The same aspect of animalistic frenzy was also found among the followers of Cybele. In antiquity people often associated Cybele with Dionysus. In Rome Cybele's priestesses were male to female transgender.

A. Quiet Voice said...

Hmmm...Are you associating the, "intoxicated ecstasy", "instinctual rage" and "animalistic frenzy" of Dionysus and Cybele's priestesses with male to female transgenders?

Hard to believe but you certainly make that implication here, "In antiquity people often associated Cybele with Dionysus. In Rome Cybele's priestesses were male to female transgender."

Interesting, indeed.

Kate Frey said...

Cybele certainly seems to have had transgender connections. Her priests/priestesses were the gallae, thought to be what we might term transgender.

http://transhistory.wikispaces.com/gallae

I'm not sure about Dionysius, but as a god of intoxication, extacy and going beyond limits. I could see a connection with TGism.

Jack Molay said...

Dionysos and Cybele:

I strongly recommend the book "In Search of the God Mother", by Lynn E. Roller. It has one of the most extensive discussions of Cybele and the galli I have seen.

I will probably write a blog post about this later on. Describing transgender people from another age and culture, helps us gain perspective on what this is all about.

Raju Mahanta said...

@Jack,
Do "gynephilic" crossdreamers and transwomen experience the same degree of dysphoria as the andophilic ones?
Do they feel the same degree of emergency to change sex and live lives as women even if they are totally into women?

Kate Frey said...

@ A Quiet Voice,

I posted something of my life story in this blog as "Annie" in (I believe) November of 2010. Autogynaphilia/crossdreaming, whatever one wants to call this, has been and is a profound defining characteristic of my life and that of many others.What would you have people like us do?

Why are some in the TG community so ready to create yet more borders and boundaries? Shouldn't we be moving beyond this and celebrate the infinite diversity of Being?

AS far as I'm concerned, this blog has provided a valuable public service. I wish something like this existed 20 years ago.

IAQV, without meaning to be an attention high, if you do have an alternate explanation for my condition/ situation, I would sincerely appreciate links/references.For me though, crossdreaming has been an important aspect of who i am.

Parry Jonathan said...

@A Quiet Voice,
Let me explain my understanding of the situation of transsexualism versus other forms of transgenderism:

The west has done a great disservice to humanity by reducing genders to a binary. This partly reflects the western mentality (perhaps arising from a fanatic Christian mindset) that only that which can physically be seen is real, the rest is non-existent. Although, gender can be physically seen (in terms of dresses, mannerisms, expressions, etc.), the west only looks at the outer-sex organs of people in order to decide their gender. However, this totally misses an important feature of gender that resides within us.

The fact however remains that there are, in actuality, as many as six different human genders. Since, only two human genders constitute the majority, and the rest are in a minority, eversince the politics of male gender and sexuality took birth, the human genders were reduced to just three, the world over. The West, took this politics a step further and reduced the three genders to just two.

However, the most important reason for the west's discarding the other gender identities apart from the binary male and female, in particular its discarding of the biological concept of 'inner-sex' is because, inner-sex is unimportant as far as reproduction is concerned, and the west is so pathologically obsessed with reproduction and heteronormativity, that anything that is immaterial for reproduction is negated by the west and is classified as a disease. Not surprising that even something as common as homosexuality was seen as a disease by the west and even bisexuality is seen as queer.

Your opinion that "transsexualism" is a kind of genetic anomaly or "born in wrong body" is totally a product of this fantatic western mindset that categorizes humans into man or women.
I can vouch for it that there is no such thing as "transsexualism" in any culture other than the west. This is because transsexualism is simply about being a female soul in male body or a male soul in female body- which is a natural God-gifted condition simply made to be a disease by this fanatic west.
You are a woman, so be it. But that does not mean that just because you were born with a male body, you were born with a defect that needs to be cured. Nature does not create wrong bodies this way,atleast not with such a huge frequency.You will understand this if you get out of your western binary-gender mindset. In ancient cultures, transsexual people were revered as powerful "shamans" who were believed to be possessing both male ad female energies and as such, were considered highly powerful beings. It is Christianity ad other Abrahamic religions who first started targeting these people and made them diseased.But that does not mean such treatment was right or that, transsexuals are born with a medical birth condition.
The western binary mindset basically forces transsexuals like who almost have zero male inner identity to distance yourself from the other types of transgenders and gender-variants, as a form of political agenda to mingle with the straight community as far as possible.
This is what makes you so much eager to fight against other gender-variants such as bigenders, genderqueers,androgynes and other gender-gifted people. You want to identify totally as a woman, and be in the straight community and so you take it upon yourself to malign the other groups of transgenders as merely "perverted fetishistic men". But this actually is not your fault. You are just reacting to the social conditions of the day.
I know in my country transsexuals who undergo castration don't treat other transgenders this way and proudly accept them as a part of the larger gender non-binary.
Ponder hard over my view and give your reply.

Parry Jonathan said...

@Jack,
My opinion is that all this constant brouhaha over transsexual versus transgender is simply a product of the fantaic western mindset to reduce gender to a binary and reduce humans to a binary spectrum of man-versus-woman.
This mentality is totally wrong and reductionist. I feel this is what makes the extreme transgendered people of the west to want to totally fit into the mainstream rather than regarding themselves as one of the spiritually gifted people. In order to do this, they start regarding their own condition as a birth-defect which needs to be cured by getting sex-reassignment surgeries and at the same time, they start mailigning the other groups of transgender people are "autogynephiliacs", or "effeminate gay men" or "pervert shemales" etc.

Know for the sake of knowing that this is all part of western politics and none of this is natural or right. It is surprising but true that in my culture, effeminate males and MTFs really don't see themselves as totally separate humans and they both consider each other as part of the gender non-binary spectrum.



I remember a quote from a book by a westerner (of Indian origin), Dayanita Singh who wrote about her friendship with an India Hijra, Mona Ahmed, and their two different societies' beliefs about gender. She writes-"When I once asked Mona if she would like to go to Singapore for a sex change operation, she told me, 'You really do not understand. I am the third sex,I am gender-gifted.I am not a man trying to be a woman, neither I am a woman born in wrong body. It is your society's problem that you only recognise two sexes.'"

In the ancient tribes (some of which still exist), e.g., the native Americans, where they recognize a third gender, there are no cases of transsexuals, not even, of eunuchs. They give a very special and respected status to the third genders of different shades and flavors ad I have never read of such conflicts they had regarding who was a autogynpehiliac and who was a woman in wrong body.

The obsession to chnage sex is also a product of cultural conditioning of the west. Of course, if tommorrow, you invent a drug or surgery which changes the sexual attraction of a homosexual man from men towards women, men will stand in line to get it. It doesn't mean that it's actually natural for men to want to change the direction of their attraction. Only, that the west makes life for men so difficult if they choose to desire men, that they would not feel 'normal' unless they develop an exclusive attraction for women.
Likewise, the west makes life for transsexuals so difficult that unless they pathologize their healthy natural gender-gifted condition and go for a sex-change and unless they maign the other trasgender flavors as fetishists rather than uniting with them under a common banner, they don't feel 'normal'.
People like A. Quiet Voice and many others from the transkids gorup of classic transsexuals do this only to make themselves feel acceptable to the mainstream straight community, something, that under a natural condition, they would not want to.

Kate Frey said...

Parry Johnathan,

Well said. Those who are super anxious to police the TG community and are adamant in thinking their own condition-which they view essentially as a disease which can be "cured" with medical intervention, share the same ideology as the academic "radfems" who condemn transgenderism in toto and only accept "womyn born womyn".This is also parallel to people like Andrew Sullivan who want to "mainstream" the gay male community.There are many forms of cross gender identification. Why don';t we just accept this and move on.

Parry Jonathan said...

Kate Frey,
What I am saying is not even my opinion. It is basically the only truth you will come across if you study transgenders of all cultures, including many places of the west.
Perhaps instead of going so much into scientific debates, we should always make it a point to see the perspectives of other cultures on the same subject,

Jack Molay said...

A Quiet Voice has already been asked not to comment at this blog or over at Crossdream Life. I have allowed her to make her case for some time, hoping that she could make use of her life experience to help other transsexual women following these arenas. After having discussed this with her repeatedly, both in public and privately, it is clear to me that she is not here to help, but to preach the 'classic transsexual' gospel of aggression, showing nothing but disdain for those who fall outside her narrow definitions of what it means ti be a 'real' woman or 'real' man. This does not generate the kind of discussions people struggling with their sexuality or identity need. She has been allowed to make her point. It is time to move on.

Parry Jonathan said...

@A. Quiet Voice,
" However, I will continue to draw a clear, "line in the sand", when it comes to conflating TG and other GV, with women who recognise that transsexuality IS "essentially (as) a disease which can be "cured" with medical intervention."

I a not at all claiming you are a bigot. I am however very much sure you are simply reacting to the culture around you and that is not entirely unjustified. However, you need to still learn to see the truth behind the facades.
So, okay, you have full right to draw a line between transsexuals and other GVs. But then,you need to explain that the two things are entirely different using a sound analysis, devoid of bias.

What makes you think that those TGs who are not transsexual have a 100% male brain and only you qualify to be a female just because you need a sex-change? Why see things in black and white? As I have said in my earlier post,gender lies in a spectrum and so, it is illogical to assume that only the person who undergoes castration is liable to be called as trans and the others are merely fetishists or some other such trivial stuff.
There are no studies you have to prove clearly that only transsexuals who undergo sex-change should be having a female brain/soul and the other TGs don't have any female soul, not even partially. You are merely speculating or at best, attempting to mingle with the straight community by being one of the "biological women".
This is just a shortcut political agenda to somehow simply fit in,even if it means stealing other people's spaces,disregarding other people for who they genuinely feel they are or even by using the victim mentality of being 'diseased'.

If your claim is so much right, then why don't we have such cases of transsexualism in other cultures as distinct from other forms of transgenderism?
Why do we not have this "thin line in the sand" in non-western cultures? Only 8% of transgenders of Asian cultures undergo castration, but, that does not mean they see the other GVs as "something else", the way you do, neither do they see themselves as diseased.
You need to give a scientific explanation of your disease theory yourself, the onus lies on you that only you have a valid female and the other TGs don't.
Oh, please don't use studies by crooks such as Blanchard as evidences. That would be like throwing off the Bible and claiming God says so.

Parry Jonathan said...

@Jack,
I would like you to give your views on my perspective of this situation.

Jack Molay said...

@Perry

I'll come back to you asap.

Kate Frey said...

Perry,

Your posts are interesting.I might not go quite that far though. We can and must learn from traditional societies alternative gender roles.I agree that the Western medical model and Western dualistic views of gender have done much damage.Having said this though I feel we should not over romanticize traditional cultures. I've never been to India but I have many South Asian friends and I have been told that hijras are drawn from the lower castes,are often looked down, discriminated against and generally despised.

I've heard from an anthropologist and many tourists that the Thai katooey, while a widespread alt gender role, are also often despised and are largely associated with the sex trade. It is significant however that this role exists. Jack's comments, elsewhere in this blog on different constructs of homosexuality in Thai culture and the vastly greater visibility of katooeys in Thailand is very interesting.

It may be that more egalitarian tribal cultures, closer to Engel's
"primitive communism" such as the Pacific Islands and First Nations people of North America may provide the best environment for those with alt gender identities.

I would also say that for some the "classic transsexual" identity is valid and that for these people, as well as those of us along the AG spectrum surgery can be a valid option.

Parry Jonathan said...

@Kate Frey
" I have been told that hijras are drawn from the lower castes,are often looked down, discriminated against and generally despised."

Being despised as inferior is one thing. Being misrepresented is another. I agree that societies midway between traditional and westernized ones such as India or Thailand,do despise Hijras/kathoeys or treat them a bit sub-human but I also feel they are closer to reality in that they atleast have a system of non-binary gender identification and don't see transgenders as "men".The west distorts the very essence of alternate gender with its binary system and ends up misrepresenting it totally.
Whether medieval Asian societies treat "third-gender" at par with first genders is a different matter. I guess the more traditional you go, the more dignified the 'third-genders' become and you are totally right that egalitarian tribal cultures such as the Pacific Islands and First Nations provide the maximum dignity to the alternate genders.

Parry Jonathan said...

"
I would also say that for some the "classic transsexual" identity is valid and that for these people, as well as those of us along the AG spectrum surgery can be a valid option."

I am not disputing that surgery is a healthy option for many of us.Heck,even I plan to do so. But what I am simply saying is that many of the same people who opt for surgery in a westernized or semi-westernized culture, would not have even thought of such an option had they been in some of those ancient cultures closer to nature. Even if they did, as in about 8% of transgenders who undergo voluntary castration,they would not really identify themselves as "biological women" and would continue to see themselves as special dual-spirited humans.
Meanings and interpretations of the self definitely are effected by degree of cultural pressure to conform to gender-binary.

Jack Molay said...

@Parry

Sorry about this late response. I tried to write one right away using an iPhone, but that did not work out well.

Here is one observation that may throw some light upon my understanding of the cause of crossdreaming and other transgender conditions:

When I write about the cultural context of gender development, many readers believe I believe everything sex and gender is socially constructed.

When I write about biological research on sex and gender, other readers interpret this to mean I am a reductionist "essentialist".

I cannot be both at the same time, right? Or maybe I can?

I have spent quite some time on this blog disussing the cultural context of gender identity development, and this blog post is one example of this.

I believe culture put enormous pressure upon us, demanding full adherence to the gender stereotypes of the day.

When children grow up they focus strongly on gender when deciding who to imitate and what behavior to avoid.

Still the fact that there are some who -- in spite of this forced 'enculturation' -- insists that their sex identity is misaligned with their body tells me that there is more to this than culture alone. No one would go through that hell if assimilation was a viable alternative.

So I can follow your logic to a certain point, but I am also convinced that AQV -- in a sense -- is correct when she says she was born with a female brain.

In other words, I believe there is an inborn sex identity, which n its turn iinfluences the formation of the gender identity (which is social and cultural).

On the other hand it is clear that this sex identity does not determine gender behavior directly.

The differences between men and women as regards temperament and abilities are extremely small on an aggregated level, if there are any such differences at all. History demonstrates a wide variety of gender expressions, roles and behavior.

This means that even if I can accept the phrase "a woman trapped in a woman's body" as a helpful -- but over simplified metaphor -- I do not believe in the "woman in a box" model, i.e. that a girl is born as a complete package including a drive towards gathering mushrooms and and urge to lift her little finger when drinking tea.

Life stories like the one about Viktor tells me that there is a biological component, while cultural reflections like your own tell me that it does not determine much of what we consider masculine or feminine.

Jack Molay said...

...cont.

I know that many find my double answer both frustrating and confusing. How can sex and gender be both biological and cultural?

Well, I find it hard to believe in complete separation of mind and body. I am having a cold right now, which reminds me that my ability to think clearly is definitely depending on my health.

Moreover: Given that sex roles, drives and orientation have clear biological roots in other mammals, I find it hard to believe that there is no such connection among the human mammal.

What is amazing about the human animal, however, is that our instincts often trigger learning that in its turn leads to very diverse behavior. David/Davida gave me an excellent example of this: language.

All human children are born with an instinct or an ability to learn languages unconsciously. But this instinct is not determined by its content.

That is: I was not born with a Norwegian template, no more than you were born with an English language one. But we were both born with a how-to-learn-a-language template.

I suspect there is something similar going on as sex identity.

Most children are "programmed" to develop a sex identity. This is seen in their tendency to join groups of same-sex individuals.

Still: The content of the resulting gender identity is culturally defined - at least for the most part.

If the sex identity is biological, it will most likely be the end result of a combination of many genetic, epigenetic, and hormonal factors.

Even if some of these factors are on/off switches (binary), the totality will not be binary.

This means that even if the majority of people for evolutionary reasons will cluster close to the male and female poles, a large number of people will not.

This leads to the existence of the gender queer, people who do not easily identify with one gender or the other, or for that matter: one sex or the other.

It seems to me that much of the conflict in the transgender arena is caused by the mix up of such categories.

A transsexual woman is a woman, not a third alternative to established sexes or genders. But there are those who truly could be categorized as "a third gender".

Maybe the hijrah, kathoeys or the ancient Cybele gallae could be called "third gender" (as in having a different and culturally defined social role), but I suspect most of them would have a female sex identity.

Jack Molay said...

@Raju

"@Jack,
Do "gynephilic" crossdreamers and transwomen experience the same degree of dysphoria as the andophilic ones?
Do they feel the same degree of emergency to change sex and live lives as women even if they are totally into women?"

This is an extremely complicated issue. From what I hear and read, gynephilic transwomen experience the same degree of dysphoria as the androphilic ones.

The main difference seems to be -- on an aggregated level and until recently -- that androphilic transwomen are more likely to transition while they are young, whole the gynephilic ones are more likely to wait until they are older.

My guess is that the gynephilic ones try harder to adapt to the expectations of society since they love women and want to share their life with a woman. They may believe it is harder to find such love as a lesbian born in a male body.

This may be changing. Lately I have seen quite a few young gynephilic transwomen present their lives over at YouTube. It may be that this openness will make more gynephilic transsexual women understand who they truly are at an earlier age.

But again: This does not mean that all MTF crossdreamers are gender dysphoric or transsexual. In the same way you will find a similar "grey zone" on the androphilic side. There are those that identify clearly as women, and those that adapt to the life as a homosexual man. They may still identify strongly with women.

Parry Jonathan said...

@Jack,
"A transsexual woman is a woman, not a third alternative to established sexes or genders. But there are those who truly could be categorized as "a third gender".

I never said that third-gender is not about having a female brain inside?I do not doubt that AQV or for that matter, any other transwoman who undergoes surgery has an inner female sex identity. Did I say they don't? However, that does not mean the other varieties of transgenders don't have a female inside as well, if not complete, partial. The transsexual theory is more like one is a woman inside ONLY if there is desire to change bodies but is man so long as there is no desire to have surgery. This is an inaccurate understanding of the whole spectrum of gender which I believe, happens only because of the gender binary nature of the west.
Of course, for that matter, I have met a transwoman Anne Osborne from the west itself who had undergone surgery from "straight male" to
"lesbian woman". She was extremely thrilled to see the third-gender Hijra category here and she said she found an identity here as a female inside a male body, something she was denied in the west. Quite surprising as it is since she was exclusively attracted to women and in India,"Hijras" have a gender-role of receptive sex with men. The only reason she felt allied with Hijra was because of her inner female which she felt was accomodated within the traditional third-gender system here.

Parry Jonathan said...

Jack-
The traditional third-gender system is indeed about just that- a female brain inside a male body or a male brain inside a female body. And that too, in different degrees! Infact, there have been as many as six different human genders in more ideal societies closest to nature!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9VmLJ3niVo

http://marcelvotlucka.wordpress.com/2008/10/24/5-genders/

The Indonesian culture defines the five genders as:
Oroané = Man
Makkunrai = Woman
Calalai = Feminine male
Calabai = Masculine female
Bissu = Hermaphrodite/ Intersexed/ Eunuch/ male with female soul/ female with male soul (the most equivalent of MTF or FTM of the west)

Jack Molay said...

@Parry

"However, that does not mean the other varieties of transgenders don't have a female inside as well, if not complete, partial."

I agree with you in this.

I mentioned the existence of the "gender queer", people who do not easily identify with one gender or the other, or for that matter: one sex or the other.

I guess you could say that they represent a third (or fourth or fifth...) alternative.

However, in addition to this group,which is clearly bridging both sex and gender, there are those who for social, practical or personal reasons are forced to live in the "the grey zone", but who fully identify with one sex or the other.

I am not sure it helps to classify them together with those who identify as gender queer.

I am afraid that this will generate even more animosity and anger. For most transsexual women the struggle has been to be recognized as women. To be categorized as neither man nor woman is not helpful in that respect.

In other words: You and I do not disagree as regards the facts on the ground, but it may be that we disagree on how to develop a language that allows for more diversity.

It seems to me you are using "third gender" as a liberating cultural term. That is fine with me. I am just saying that it is not a term that makes sense for all of those who identify fully with their target sex.

Personally, I would love to see a culture who accepts the diversity of life, regardless. One that is not obsessed with the need to force people into the strait jackets of dogmatic gender stereotypes.

In one way the Western cultures have come some way towards realizing this goal.

In Norway the conservative (!) Minister of Finance a few years ago brought his male partner to dinner at the Royal Palace. No one complained. Women are now allowed to explore "male" expressions that were forbidden to them only 40 years ago.

We do not necessarily make new terms for these people. They are still classified as men and women in the minds of most. But there is an increasing acceptance.

The main exception seems to be men who stray over into the realm of the feminine. That is still taboo for gynephilic men.Gay effeminate men have also a hard time gaining acceptance, even in homosexual circles.

The liberation of women and homosexual men and women would have been impossible without terms that identified them as persecuted groups.

The gender queer, the transgender, the crossdressers and the crossdreamers are invisible to most, as there are no words that help people understand who they are.

The Navaho's had a term that helped such people find a voice: "twin spirited". You have given other examples. But I am simply not sure if these alternatives are helpful in our cultural context.

And when I say I am not sure, I mean it. It may be that your approach makes sense overall.

Jack Molay said...


@Parry

One more thing:

I think you have a point when you indicate that the stigma attached effeminate gay men and male to female crossdreamers may cause some to transit. That is: They may have avoided surgery if feminine behavior among men had been accepted.

It seems the general public is much more tolerant towards transsexual women than male to female crossdressers or feminine gay men, probably because they find them less threatening towards their own implicit understanding of sex and gender.

Some transgender crossdreamers therefore find it sensible to take the plunge, instead of constantly having to explain themselves to people who do not understand or who cannot accept the ambiguity.

I was surprised to hear that the ayatollahs of Iran are strong supporters of hormone treatments and surgery for male to female transgender people. They are, after all, very strict as regards gender behavior.

The reason is, it turns out, that they use surgery to enforce the binary. It is better for a effeminate gay man to become a woman, than for "him" to offend God by behaving like a woman. For this person to have sex with a man as a man is a sin. If she has sex with a man as a woman, she is not offending God.

(The gynephilic MTF crossdreamers are damned regardless in the minds of the priests.)

It seems to me that the reason some more militant transsexual women attack crossdressers and crossdreamers so violently, is for the same reason.

They hate the idea of being associated with people who do not adhere to the gender divide. They think the very existence of the crossdreamers will make others questions their own womanhood.

This is why they find it necessary to reduce us to perverts and deviants. Diagnosing us as fetishists and autogynephiliacs makes it even more important for them to keep the distance.

This is also why they insist on surgery being the litmus test of true womanhood. Transwomen who feel that genital surgery is unnecessary, arguing that their womanhood is mental and not bodily, are considered a threat, again because their existence leads to ambiguity.

The separatist "classic transsexuals" therefore turns surgery into a weapon: If you avoid the knife you are an autogynephilic fetishist.

It is a vicious circle, indeed.

Parry Jonathan said...

@Jack,
"However, in addition to this group,which is clearly bridging both sex and gender, there are those who for social, practical or personal reasons are forced to live in the "the grey zone", but who fully identify with one sex or the other.'

This confusion happens too mostly in the west and I will try to explain this with an example. Consider the "effeminate gays" and those whom you call "meterosexual". Now, the term "metrosexual" is a bit confusing. The western society wants to consider meterosexuality as effeminacy, but on the other hand, it goes on to label just about any man, even macho men as meterosexual, if they adopt some traits considered stereotypically feminine by western culture-like looking good, maintaining high profile sexy bodies etc.
This confusion happens because the west confuses natural gender with gender-roles and then uses these gender-roles to denote gender.They think gender is just about these gender-roles and there is nothing called a natural masculine gender or natural feminine gender. But that is totally wrong.

An effeminate male is a transgender or somewhere in between a man and transgender. But a meterosexual male or for that matter,any man or woman who breaks traditional gender-roles is definitely not a transgender even if they adopt some traits artificially deemed to be of opposite sex.

"
It seems to me you are using "third gender" as a liberating cultural term. That is fine with me. I am just saying that it is not a term that makes sense for all of those who identify fully with their target sex. "

No, certainly not.You have failed to get my point here.Third-gender is not a "liberating cultural term". It is a natural essence and is used for dual-spirited males (or females),ie., for female souls inside male bodies or male souls inside female bodies. It is not used for people who merely break some traditional cultural roles. I would never label a man who breaks some traditional manly gender roles as third-gender because such a male does not have any considerable femininity inside-he is merely being flexible in his gender-roles. But if a male does that because of an inner female identity which is considerably high, then, he becomes a part of third-gender, that too, in different degrees! Femininity is about an inner female and not about some particular gender-roles (like wearing make-up or beautification,cooking etc) and third-gender is used to denote this inner female in a male.

" For most transsexual women the struggle has been to be recognized as women. To be categorized as neither man nor woman is not helpful in that respect."

I guess, the problem here is that the western society does not consider or recognize the inner female unless one is a woman. But,nature is not that way. An inner female can very healthily reside inside a perfectly male body and vice-versa. That is what needs to be recognized here. Neither man nor woman does not mean the inner female is not recognized. It simply means,the individual is dual-spirited,or having energies of both genders-a mind of one gender and a physique of another gender. This was considered extremely gifted and cherished in ancient cultures.

Parry Jonathan said...

Also:
Look at your two sentences:

" Women are now allowed to explore "male" expressions that were forbidden to them only 40 years ago.
"In one way the Western cultures have come some way towards realizing this goal.....We do not necessarily make new terms for these people. They are still classified as men and women in the minds of most. But there is an increasing acceptance."

AND

"
The gender queer, the transgender, the crossdressers and the crossdreamers are invisible to most, as there are no words that help people understand who they are. "



The acceptance of women in male roles is an acceptance of gender-role flexibility.It means men being allowed to be less macho and women being allowed to be more into jobs deemed traditionally for men. However, that really does not mean acceptance of alternate genders.The very fact that genderqueers, adrogynes, crossdreamers etc are totally invisible means there is no recognition of gender non-binary which is the natural reality. This means no awareness of the "female soul inside male body" or "male soul inside female body" phenomenon -UNLESS of course there is total sex-change and transition in which case, a male becomes a biological woman or a female a biological man.However,this is violating the very natural essence of what third-gender is all about by presenting it as a disease that needs to be cured through genital modification.

It seems to me that the reason some more militant transsexual women attack crossdressers and crossdreamers so violently, is for the same reason.


That is exactly because of the gender binary system which fails to recognize the dual-spirit phenomenon. A biological male can have a female inside without being a biological female and that is what needs to be recognized here.


"
They hate the idea of being associated with people who do not adhere to the gender divide. They think the very existence of the crossdreamers will make others questions their own womanhood.

This is why they find it necessary to reduce us to perverts and deviants. Diagnosing us as fetishists and autogynephiliacs makes it even more important for them to keep the distance."

This is what the politics is all about. In non-western cultures, this is never seen. Even effeminate gays go and freely mix with Hijras, part-time. Third-gender occurs in various shades and degrees based on the degree of female inside and so, it is totally unnecessary to maintain such sharp distinctions ad find each other threatening.

Parry Jonathan said...

ALSO:

"I think you have a point when you indicate that the stigma attached effeminate gay men and male to female crossdreamers may cause some to transit. That is: They may have avoided surgery if feminine behavior among men had been accepted.
It seems the general public is much more tolerant towards transsexual women than male to female crossdressers or feminine gay men, probably because they find them less threatening towards their own implicit understanding of sex and gender."


I can assure you Jack, this is the only one reason. Also, besides, I think your terminologies need some correction. Feminine gendred males are not "men". Any male with a penis is not necessarily a "man". A man simply is a masculine gendered male. And by masculine gender, I don't mean a macho man necessarily. Just someone who has an adequate male identity-he may be tender and soft.Feminine gendered males may NOT be tender and soft, but still have a part female identity and that is the reason why they feel like having a separate identity from other men. This applies to both feminine gendered males who are attracted to men and the "queer heterosexuals", ie., feminine gendered males attracted to women.
Also,there would be no "transsexual women" had there been all kinds of male femininity recognized as residing inside a male body,in a healthy manner. You see, a female brain inside a male body has had some natural functions. In ancient tribes, these dual-spirits had special roles-for example, as priests and spiritual figures. They had the mind of one gender but the physical prowess of another gender, making them extremely special. The modern binary gender system however, treats this special condition as an abnormality and the body as a disease and seeks to artificially change the body so that it no longer looks abnormal. But this is definitely a cultural reaction.

Parry Jonathan said...

I think I need to explain my point about gender-expression versus gender-identity much more clearly.

The western understanding of masculinity and femininity is pretty flawed. In the west, (also in the east to an extent), what they've done is, removed the natural traces of masculinity and femininity and replaced them with social constructs, and then confuse the social constructs for the real masculinity and femininity.

Masculinity and femininity are first and foremost Gender Orientations. A male gender orientation, whether in a female or a male is known as masculinity, and a female gender orientation, whether in a male or a female is known as 'femininity.' The third-gender is about this inner gender orientation and not about those artificial gender-roles or gender-expressions.

A gender-expression may be based on an inner gender-identity or breaking traditional roles.
Gender expressions that are based solely on the social constructs and have no 'natural' basis are indeed useless and a misleading indication of the true gender identity of an individual.
However Gender expressions that are based on one's natural inner gender orientation are a perfectly valid indications of an individual's gender identity. When the way we act, dress, carry ourselves, walk, talk, etc. is based on how we feel from inside, naturally ... on what our inner gender orientation is, then it is a perfectly natural thing and not just a matter of social constructs.

E.g. when an effeminate male walks with a gait or talks in a female like accent, or conducts himself as if he is a female --he is not merely breaking some traditional macho gender-role unlike the case of a man who applies beauty cream. He is doing something because of an inner female gender orientation.
We must accept natural gender, i.e. natural masculinity and natural femininity as perfectly valid and must distinguish them from social gender, i.e. social masculinity and social femininity, which are purely social constructs.

An example of social masculinity is, eg. cigerrattes. Now, smoking cigerrattes has nothing to do with whether you have a masculine or a feminine gender orientation. However, since, the society has artificially fixed it as a masculine trait, masculine males and females like to smoke cigerrettes, in order to show to the world their inner masculinity, in order to give expression to their inner masculinity. Smoking, in this case is merely a social construct. But the masculinity that it is representing is NOT artificial. It's very real.
A confusion can occur, when a feminine gendered male or female breaks the artificial gender roles and start smoking. They may be seen by the others wrongly as masculine, at least, in the short run.

Jack Molay said...

@Parry

Thank you, Parry, this is very helpful. I see that your approach is very similar to mine. I write about a female and male sex identity that at least has a biological core and that is shaped in meeting with culture. You talk about an inborn feminine or masculine gender that is developed throughout life. You emphasize the fact that not many may present a mix of the feminine and the masculine, and therefore reject the binary.

I wonder if you could elaborate on what you think this feminine or masculine gender is at heart. What is this drive or trigger that leads to a feminine, masculine or mixed identification?

Parry Jonathan said...

@Jack,

"I wonder if you could elaborate on what you think this feminine or masculine gender is at heart. What is this drive or trigger that leads to a feminine, masculine or mixed identification?"


The inner masculinity or femininity is due to the inner brain structure and also the type of central nervous system. In cultures where there was no science, people used to refer to the principle of a "spirit". But the underlying thought is similar.
Now,based on my observations, it does seem that the nature of this inner female could vary from one transgender to another. In some people, this inner femininity may be expressed in the form of gender-expressions such as effeminate gait,posture or lisping. This is so in effeminate males who don't identify as transgender. In their case, it does seem that they have a certain androgynous quality of gender expression (not just gender-role) but their inner sex-identity still remains male.
In others such as transvestites and gays, the inner femaleness may be activated by sexuality and flamobyance and may trigger feelings of heightened femininity without still making the person feel cross-sexed. Many males just love to imitate beautiful women and it is a part of their artistic creativity and taste.In the past, we did have many androgynous men who danced as women in theatres. I wouldn't say they necessarily did so for money alone. They might have also very much loved
it,much like today's drag-queens!

In other cases, this inner female is present in the form of an inner sex-identity. This makes the person feel as if the self is a female regardless of the outer reality. It is so in my case and I do feel I can be quite androgynous in gender-expressions and be even butch in sexual roles, however, my inner identity still remains female.
It doesn't mean that those who don't have an inner identity as female have a less valid form of transgenderism.

Parry Jonathan said...

@AQV,
I think I should not even give a damn to your ranting. But anyways;


You and Jack discount thousands of years of human and social evolution in favor of your self serving justification for a simple paraphilia.


I am amazed at how you can distort historical truths to support your stupid agenda. Give me one thesis of history which shows what I am saying is wrong. There has hardly been a point in history before Christian west when various forms of transgenders got to be called as mere "paraphiliacs", hence disregarding their inner gender essence.



Just because certain societies, both ancient and modern have found a 'special' place for special snowflakes like you and Jack, does not make you any less 'special'.

I really don't understand your insecurities. Are you so desperate to want to prove that only someone who wants a surgery should be qualified to be a valid biological female and the rest are mere 'snowflakes'? What is it that you want? Why just don't you cut the crap out and say what you want to believe is right?
If you really want to be logical, show me where I am wrong and in what way.
By the way, I am not like Jack, as I do have an inner female sex identity too. So by your own rationale,I am not merely a fetishist.

Lindsay said...

@Parry

If AQV responds, she will do it in her usual style. First she'll insult you, then Jack and then the rest of the transgender community. Next She'll say that it is really the transgendered community that is attacking her and causing irreparable harm to her and all other post ops.

It's best to just ignore her illogical and inaccurate ravings. Everyone sees her for what she is and no one believes what she says, even most post ops.

Jack Molay said...

AQV has been banned from this blog, as noted above. Unfortunately I have no way of removing her post automatically, and some slip through before I have the time to remove them.

Parry Jonathan said...

@AQV,


Billions of years of evolution have made sure that all animals have at their core a basic set of rules to play by when it comes to sex. We humans are at our core just slightly more complex animals. As Jack has so tirelessly endeavored to demonstrate, we are much more than a just a 'social construct'.

How does this contradict my point about TGs? Infact, more than anything else, it contradicts your point that TGs are mere paraphiliacs created out of some cultural conditioning.


My point is NOT that TG folks do not exist, or that they should be persecuted. My point is that they should base their campaign on their/your reality, rather than on some false association with those afflicted by transsexualism.

And what is the reality according to you?
You have again simply lamented about transsexuals not being recognized as biological women. But you have not given any sound analysis of why TGs cannot be having a part-female brain and/or identity as well but should me mere paraphiliacs or AGP etc.

You need to see that researchers such as Blanchard consider even gynephilic transwomen as AGP and not just the gynpeihlic crossdreamers. That is because they have one single agenda- to dismiss MTF transgenders attracted to women as unreal or "paraphiliac men" because they don't like the idea that feminine males can be attracted to only women and not men.They hate our very existence because it threatens the ideology of heteronormativity. If you want to support such theories, then you need to prove logically why you love to do so.

Jamiegottagun said...

"The Eternal Feminine" that Goethe was referring to is "Sophia." She is a Platonic and Gnostic Christian symbol for the wife of God.

The story goes that she attempted to "know" God, in the biblical sense. For that she was cast out of heaven, and then gave birth to the God who created the material world we live in, the Demiurge.

This was an "evil" act, and the Demiurge is an equivalent of The Devil.

Like Eve, Sophia sinned by introducing imperfection and in completion into God's perfect universe.

As imperfect and incomplete beings, Sophia is our heavenly mother.

"Sophia, sinner and saint, mother and whore." She is a forerunner of the Catholic Virgin Mary.

Jamiegottagun said...

PS

If you want to follow up this line of thought I would recommend reading Robert A. Johnson's "She" Understanding Feminine Psychology - Harper & Row, 1977

He explains the Greek myths of Aphrodite and Psyche as early attempts at explaining the female animus - Aphrodite the immature, ancient one, and Psyche the more grown-up and modern one.

Reading it, I have concluded that most transgender MTF are pretty much Aphrodite. An immature, nowhere near fully-developed version of femininity. I think you will to :-)

Jack Molay said...

@Jamiegottagun

The Gnostic Sophia? I didn't know that. That is truly fascinating.

The gnostics have such an ambiguous attitude towards women. On the one hand some of them turned Mary Magdalene into a prophetess. On the other hand they associated the feminine with procreation in this world, and therefor evil as it imprisons our souls in the world of matter.

Using the imperfect as a symbol of that which draws us towards wholeness makes sense, though.

Eros/Cupid and Psyche, as told in "The Golden Ass" by Apuleius is one of my favorite tales about the possible union of the masculine and the feminine.

Your point about MTF crossdreamers being closer to the temperamental Aphrodite than the more serene Psyche is to the point, though.

MTF crossdreamers are seldom allowed to practice their femininity in the real world, and this side of them is often underdeveloped. This makes them easy targets for the transphobes, as can use their lack of taste as proof of their masculinity.

Jack Molay said...

@Parry

Please do not encourage AQV! The fact that she comes back here again and again, in spite of the fact that I have clearly said that she is not welcome here, is a clear sign of her having an ulterior motive.

She is probably waiting for some of us to lose our temper.

As Lindsay points out, this is a common tactic among separatist "classic transsexuals".

They love to present themselves as victims persecuted by "a Transgender Borg" of masculine crossdressers and crossdreamers, and for this narrative to work, they need us to confirm our "masculine" psychology.

Expressing anger is one way of giving her that satisfaction, as it is taken as proof of us being male chauvinist aggressors.

Her aggression is, of course, the just resistance of a suppressed woman. You really cannot win these kinds of arguments.

Arguing with her leads nowhere. She is here to destroy, not to help, and I am not going to let her.

Parry Jonathan said...

@Jack,
Yes, I also think such people as AQV should not be encouraged. The only reason being that these people are trolls. They cannot be convinced since they internally know they are wrong and that, they have an agenda to only mislead.
Also,there is this blatant stereotyping, a practice which is quite pathetic for someone who claims to be transsexual.By resorting to calling some aggressive person as masculine is at the height of ignorance. Women can be as much aggressive as men,only in different ways. I know many MTF transgenders who have been into areas like boxing (there was a Thai movie on this) and have even beaten up straight masculine guys. In India, many Hijras are extremely aggressive and have resorted to felonies like robbery openly on streets. That does not invalidate their feminine gender identity and does not make them less transgender. Nobody except the most ignorant folks would see them as masculine just because they happened to hit someone on the street.



haasteagle said...

Jack wrote;

'' In other words: There remains a clear unbalance in the struggle for gender equality, as the male role remains the ideal. Women who become strong and dominant are admired, while men who adopt more stereotypical feminine personality traits are ridiculed.''
'' The morale of the episode is that women can and should take over the traditional dominant role of men. That is: Women may now be dominant and aggressive, while at the same time remaining sexy and feminine. ''

This has bothered me and makes my fantasies to be a women possibly even greater. They can have the best of both worlds.
I wonder how a society would look if everyone expressed femininity. Would it be a better and more desirable society?

Parry Jonathan wrote;

''Your opinion that "transsexualism" is a kind of genetic anomaly or "born in wrong body" is totally a product of this fantatic western mindset that categorizes humans into man or women.''

I agree with this entirely. In the west we seem to be very caught up in obsessing with what is the right and efficient way to do things. In one of the psychology courses in uni I also learned about different cultures and how some Asian countries don't put the ''mentally ill'' in special houses but instead they stay home and work at the farm/family business and these people recover much faster from their mental problems than people in the west. They don't get stigmatized and put into some sort of special house. I don't know to what extent that is still the norm these days with globalization.

haasteagle said...

Very insightful posts, Parry Jonathan. A lot of mental suffering and confusion could be done away with if we accepted femininity and masculinity in people regardless of their biological sex. I am optimistic about the future :)

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