November 21, 2013

What Comic Book Hero Nemi Taught Me About Sex, Gender and Transgender

Nemi violates your gender expectations.
On what the Norwegian comic strip Nemi can tell us about female sexuality.

The main reason for why people think ill of male to female crossdreamers and crossdressers is not found in people's understanding of men. It is found in how we look at women.

We have been taught to think of women as loving, emphatic, demure, quiet, peaceful and -- let's face  it -- far less sexually charged than men.

While women look for serious commitments in their love life, we say, men look for quick and dirty sex. The women want to raise and love kids. Men like to spread their seed to every corner of the world.

These are the implicit images that powers the world view underpinning the autogynephilia theory, conservative religious attacks on crossdressers, the rad fem persecution of crossdreamers, as well as the toxic gospel of the so-called "classical transsexuals".

Since male to female crossdreamers dream of having sex as women, they must be perverted men, they say, because only men dream about having sex, apparently. Women only fake it.

This mental map is obviously all wrong. Not only does research show that women can be as libidinous, promiscuous, aggressive, unfaithful and evil as men. Living in a country that must be the most gender equal in the world, I can also tell you that given the opportunity many of them behave very much in the same way as men are expected to behave.

That does not necessarily mean that the inborn female and male sexuality is exactly the same. There may still be variations, but these are not found in categories like promiscuity and aggression.

Our view of female sexuality is changing

Popular culture has caught up on this. As women get more and more liberated, and education, politics and contraceptives have set them free, the true variation of the female sex become more apparent.

I think the turning point in American television was Nancy Botwin in Weeds plundering her smoke detector for batteries to power her vibrator (see embedded video below). It became painfully clear that many women masturbate regularly, and therefore -- most likely -- are as horny as men. (Apparently 44 percent of US women between the age 18 and 60 have used a sex toy).


Turn me on, dammit! 
(Movie poster)
In Norway it might have been the book and movie Få meg på, for faen! about the sexual drives of a completely normal Norwegian teenage girl (-- translated as Turn Me On, Dammit! in English; the title actually means "Slide Me On, For Satan!" which is the kind of thing real girls might say in my Nordic corner of the world.)

And no, this reorientation is not caused by some sexist male conspiracy. Jenji Kohan, the creator of Weeds, is definitely female. The book Få meg på, for faen! was written by a woman and the movie was directed by a woman. And it is mostly women who kill the myths of chaste Norwegian girls who close their eyes and think of knitting.

Lise's heroine Nemi to the resuce

One of my favorite comics is Nemi, written and drawn by Lise Myhre. Lise continuously  forces the reader out of the narrow boxes of our minds by showing us how  people think and feel in the real world. She does so with love and humor.

Nemi is published in some of the major Norwegian newspapers.

Lise Myhre, creator of Nemi. Photo: Albin Olsson
Nemi is a tough and open minded Goth chick who loves science fiction, fantasy and black metal (which are -- interestingly -- passions she shares with many MTF crossdreamers).

I have taken the liberty of translating and republishing a few of her strips here to show you how a Norwegian woman's view of sex and gender breaks down the Puritan preconceptions shared by sexist scientists, previous popes, classical trans women and radical feminists.

Myth 1: Women are never sexually shallow

My girl friend told me once how she and her then teenage female friends used to  grade the bums of men passing.

If they had been men, of course, this would have been considered very sexist and demeaning. Since they were girls this was considered an act of liberation or something.

The fact, is of course, that treating men and women as sex objects comes naturally to both men and women. The crux of the matter is: Are you able to see the subject  behind the object? That is how you distinguish a sexist from  a compassionate human being.
Click on image to read!


Myth number 2: Women never look for causal sex

"MEN!" women sigh, and look at you with resignation. "Men only think about one thing."  This is, as any man who loves and protects his family and friends will tell you, a very sexist thing to say, but let us leave that for a moment.

Instead: Let us look at women looking for a one night stand:

Click on image to enlarge!

Myth number 3: Women never get horny (unless they are whores, who do not get aroused either, because they are exploited)

I have lost track of how often male to female crossdreamers tell me that women lack testosterone, and therefore they are less sexually charged than men. And if I tell them about female to male crossdreamers writing pornographic comics about  their male selves violating feminized men, they tell me that these women are perverts! You can't win, right?

No one has ever proved a connection between male versus female testosterone levels and libido. No one.

Regardless: The fact is that women, when given the chance and the social stigma is removed, may perfectly well want to go directly to what my American friends call "third base".

Click to enlarge. I have kept the original text, for obvious reasons.
Myth number 4: Women never get excited by the idea of being sexy

There is no autogynephilia among women, Blanchard says. Women do not get aroused by the idea of being sexy.

Yeah, right!

Click on image to enlarge.

Thank you Lise, for helping us free of our mental shackles!

For more Nemi strips in English, go to Nemicomics.com.

And for those who missed it. Here is the dildo sequence from Weeds. It is not office friendly, but who cares!



PS

Here is another paradox: The majority of the male to female crossdreamers I know, live up to the feminine stereotype. They are introvert, quiet, shy and would love nothing more than to take on the role of the patient and caring woman. Put them in a night club and they would look like helpless fish on land.

In other words: They are nothing like the emancipated Norwegian women presented by Lise Myhre. (Which, I guess, in a few years time will be used against them, as they are not behaving like proper emancipated women...)

In spite of this the image rad fems and sexist scientists have of crossdressers and crossdreamers is the boasting, aggressive and badly dressed man who forces his transgender views of everyone.

There are two reasons for this paradox:
Nazi caricature of the Negro Jew

The introvert crossdreamer/crossdresser is invisible, so the only one they have ever seen is the party crasher.

Secondly, the people attacking us have all adopted a stereotype of the ugly man in a frock because it fits their image of what a crossdreamers or a crossdresser should be.

In other words: The ugly crossdresser is like the child-molesting hunchbacked Jew with the crooked nose or the libidinous "negro" with the big lips and the big .....

It is fascinating to see that people who think of themselves as progressive, so easily becomes copies of the fascists they despise.

31 comments:

Jack Molay said...

@Mitchell

"Humanity's greatest fear has always been the unknown, the unexpected. We like to box everything off, categorize, and label."

The pessimist in me says that this is how it always will be. The optimist points to the fact that we, after all, can be quite tolerant towards variance if it is possible for us to categorize something as "normal". It is interesting to see how the younger generations more and more come to see homosexuality as "normal" and not threatening. The main reason for this is that gays and lesbians have become visible, and it is so much harder to project your own dark side onto them.

joannaS said...

to a great extent we are all victims of the social taboos and norms that have been taught to us such that once you discover that you yourself don't fit the expected model, your shame and guilt and sense that you must repair yourself goes into hyper overdrive. Of course not everyone is like this but the majority of us try hard to fit in.

But it is clear that a significant percentage of us do not fit the norm so whether you are gay, trans, fat, thin, handicapped, etc. you have an uphill battle of being discriminated against by others; usually by people who don't share your infirmity, deformity or orientation and see fit to judge.

A. Quiet Voice said...
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joannaS said...

@Jack

"The main reason for why people think ill of male to female crossdreamers and crossdressers is not found in people's understanding of men. It is found in how we look at women"

I would argue that people don't think ill at all but simply do not understand us. My experience increasingly tells me (and this includes my own girlfriend) that the more you explain to them about yourself the more understanding they become.

However I do take your point that there is most definitely a double standard and the way some look at women as weak and highly sexualized objects only makes the desires of crossdreamers all the more bizarre in appearance.

But as I have relaxed myself and found happiness in self acceptance I have simply blocked out all the external noise coming from the world on this topic. After all if even I and science does not fully understand this, how can people not afflicted by dysphoria be expected to?

it is best to be open about your feelings and well meaning friends, family and even spouses will do their best to empathize even as they fully cannot.

joannaS said...

Like with everything else in this world the key is to love yourself and to love others. This is the only way out of any predicament that tortures your soul. For me it was incredibly complex and in retrospect should have been relatively simple had I been willing to examine fully why I was so willingly drinking all of the "kool aid" of social taboo over something which is relatively benign and yet makes me so happy.

Once I turned the page on my own thinking it removed all guilt as well as all thoughts of transition as I could be happy just as I am.

joannaS said...

inhidea 30@Mitchell

"Life is a grand mystery, and I embrace it. I am the way I am because I have had a lot of female heroes, and prefer to emulate them, than male heroes (which I of course also have, though not as many). I don't care to explain or justify it, it is just the way I am, and what makes me happy. I have no expectations for myself, or others to live up to"

I think you are being true to yourself and if you are happy this way and hurting no one then you have passed a litmus test for yourself. You have no one to render accounts to except your creator.

And yes society fears anything it does not understand which is the scourge of human nature. Once your learn to block out this ignorance and fear you are well on your way.

joannaS said...

some classic transsexuals (and they number a very small percentage among an already very small and steadily disappearing group) do preach a toxic gospel but it is entirely fear based and for their own self protection.

But their fear of association with "perverted men in dresses" has absolutely nothing to do with us because no one here considers himself a full blown transsexual nor aspires to be one. We are simply expressing an innate need to get in touch with our female side in a rather peculiar way. Whether it be through our expression through sexual play or imagination or through merely dressing. We may not fit into the normal majority but (as I have stated many times here) we form part of a provable and repeatable experiment. There are contacts of mine who have had a eerily almost duplicate life to my own and that cannot be a coincidence. Plus we number in the millions worldwide. its an abnormality of the mind but then so is transsexualism.

The key is to find a formula that works for you because, in the absence of a transition, you will live in a sort of abnormal netherworld. Yes you are a male but with unusual sexuality and a draw to the feminine that goes beyond your sexual attraction for them. But you also need to live and live as normally as you can and that MUST include loving yourself exactly as you were created. It is the ONLY way to be free and to be content.

Deborah Kate said...

As usual Jack, an interesting post, with good research thoughtfully interpreted. I do think's it's a shame, though, that you have got into the habit of framing your researches as attacks on the groups you regard as enemies. In doing so you condemn sweepingly, representing all members of these groups as cruder than some of them actually are. This is liable to have the effect of hardening hostility to crossdreamers. xx

Jack Molay said...

@ joannaS

"But their fear of association with 'perverted men in dresses' has absolutely nothing to do with us because no one here considers himself a full blown transsexual nor aspires to be one. "

This is certainly true for most male to female crossdreamers and the majority of my readers.

But there is also a not negligible number that are truly gender dysphoric, and for them transitioning is definitely an option to consider.

What I have come to realize is that many, if not most, transsexual women have been crossdreamers, including -- most likely -- many of the classical transsexuals. This is why they believe they have to fear what we are doing here.

What they fail to realize, though, is that most reasonable people will understand that a transsexual woman will get aroused by the idea of having sex as a woman, because all women do.

Most reasonable people will also see the difference between a crossdreamer who identifies as a man on the one hand and a gender dysphoric trans woman on the other.

Indeed, the younger generation of trans women has grown up in a much more liberal society and seem to find their crossdreaming less problematic.

Jack Molay said...

@Deborah

"In doing so you condemn sweepingly, representing all members of these groups as cruder than some of them actually are."

That would be a shame, and if that is how you read this text, I will have to look at it again. Maybe you read my reference to "sexist scientists" as a reference to all scientists. That was certainly not my intention.

Still, the only groups I have continuously criticized are tribes who under no circumstance are going to embrace what I am doing here: i.e. separatist trans women, transphobic radical feminists, and genuine Blanchard-supporters.

All I can hope for is that some of them will truly understand what they are doing. Some of them do, eventually, which is why these groups are shrinking, day by day.

That being said, one reason for me becoming more aggressive is that I have come to realize how extremely destructive some of these ideologies are. We have to stand up to them!

joannaS said...

@Jack

"What I have come to realize is that many, if not most, transsexual women have been crossdreamers, including -- most likely -- many of the classical transsexuals. This is why they believe they have to fear what we are doing here.

What they fail to realize, though, is that most reasonable people will understand that a transsexual woman will get aroused by the idea of having sex as a woman, because all women do.

Most reasonable people will also see the difference between a crossdreamer who identifies as a man on the one hand and a gender dysphoric trans woman on the other.

Indeed, the younger generation of trans women has grown up in a much more liberal society and seem to find their crossdreaming less problematic"

This is absolutely true and in fact many transsexuals started out as early crossdressers only to find there was much more to it. I myself am dysphoric so I understand that very well.

Regardless of whether you transition or not there is much validity in finding your own formula (whatever it may entail) so that you can live your life with some degree of integrity and self respect.

joannaS said...

@Jack

"What I have come to realize is that many, if not most, transsexual women have been crossdreamers, including -- most likely -- many of the classical transsexuals. This is why they believe they have to fear what we are doing here"

This is the main reason your site is drawing attacks from HBS radicals from time to time because they find the argumentation hits home and well it should because it is in alignment with the accepted literature including first and foremost - Benjamin.

Lindsay said...

@Joanna

"This is the main reason your site is drawing attacks from HBS radicals from time to time because they find the argumentation hits home and well it should because it is in alignment with the accepted literature including first and foremost - Benjamin."

Using the plural "radicals" is a gross overstatement. We only have one. It seems that the one can't find another to help back her up.

Lindsay

joannaS said...

@Lindsay

Point taken..

Deborah Kate said...

Jack,

You wrote in a comment on
"On crossdreaming lesbians and sexy trans women":

'Please note that there are also trans women who dislike the idea of being considered "transgender", without becoming hateful. I may disagree, but have had constructive and useful dialog with several of them. Take a look at this [link] discussion. I would not think of removing any of Kathryn Dumke's comments, as she argues in a polite and civilized manner.'

This I think is a fine example of not condemning sweepingly. It acknowledges that not everyone in these groups you oppose is crude in thought and malicious in intent.

Such acknowledgement is a constructive way to reduce hostilities. Meeting aggression with aggression just breeds worse aggression. xx

Jack Molay said...

@Deborah,

I think I have come to a point in my own self exploration as well as my understanding of the transgender debate, where I truly grasp the amount of evil faced by all transgender people.

I believe I reached the tipping point when I read this year´s interview with Blanchard, where he deliberately used words like "sissy" to describe male to female transgender and at the same time upheld the belief that homosexuals are mentally ill. The idea that such a man has been given power and influence in Amercian psychiatry enraged me, I admit.

At that point I came to the realization that I have every right to be angry. We live in societies where gender stereotypes leave room for bigots to harass and persecute transgender, in the same way such people were given leeway to persecute women, people of color and homosexuals in the past. It was wrong then and it is wrong now.

I now allow myself to be angry for all the insults and all the pain such people have caused me and others like me, and I am no longer willing to let such insult pass.

I guess your point is that the fact that someone are separatists or that someone argue that crossdreaming is caused by a paraphilia or a fetish, does not in itself make them bigots. This is true, which is also why I continue to engage in discussions with reasonable and polite people of any persuation.

But I am afraid that many of them -- even if they do not see this themselves -- are driven by a fear of contamination, and that much of what may seem like respect in fact is no such thing. In other words: They reinforce the very system that makes transgender people suffer.

I strongly recommend Julia Serano´s latest book for an excellent analysis of how belief systems and concepts can be used to invalidate the identity of those that fall outside the defined norm.

Serano says that she has worked herself through her intense anger phase. I am afraid I am not there yet.

Jack Molay said...

For info about Julia Serano´s latest book Excluded, see here: http://www.juliaserano.com/excluded.html

The Vice Blanchard interview can be found here: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/heres-how-the-guy-who-wrote-the-manual-on-sex-talks-about-sex

joannaS said...

@Jack

"Serano says that she has worked herself through her intense anger phase. I am afraid I am not there yet"

When you work through it you will find it will make an immense difference to you.

Remember that an ignorant like Blanchard who does not share any knowledge of this issue other than through clinical analysis plus his own personal belief system and bias cannot comprehend it. So homosexuals, transsexuals and transgender people are all perverted.

But even if you assume that these conditions are abnormalities of the brain (and I share in this view), the lack of empathy inherent in his work is plain for all to see.

My experience now tells me to focus on those whose opinions I value and forget the rest. There are plenty of crackpots and malcontents in this world to go around: each with their own agendas mostly based on fear.

Changing them will accomplish nothing but changing yourself will make a world of difference and I believe that you are very close.

joannaS said...

@Jack

In his interview Blanchard is asked the following question and he responds in a way that does not disturb me at all:

Q: So if someone cross dresses and they are cool with it, then they don’t have a disorder, correct?

A: Yes, under my proposal you can now be a happy transvestite, or you can have a transvestic disorder.

I consider myself a happy transvestite so does that mean Blanchard no longer think I am paraphilic? it appears not.

Not that I give a hoot what he thinks but I only went to the link you posted and was curious about the interview.

I don't consider that my crossdresing is giving me the slightest amount of grief nor distress and I am absolutely happy. According to this criteria I am no longer a paraphilic according to Blanchard? interesting..

joannaS said...

Blanchard also points out the following:

Q: So you don’t see a male-to-female transsexual as being female?

A:I think that a transsexual should be considered as whatever their biological sex is plus the fact that they are transsexuals. That’s how you would do research on them. There’s no other way to do it. If you’re interested in whether the brains of transsexuals are different in some way, you’re interested in seeing if they differ from other individuals with the same biological sex"

The issue here is that the brains of MtF transsexuals are not observably different from a normal male brain. This is not to say that there isn't something there but that no biological or genetic tracer has been found to date.

I don't have a problem with the idea that crossdreaming or transsexualism (which is in a sense an extreme form of it) are mental abnormalities. For me its more about having empathy for the people who have it, finding ways for them to find self acceptance and proceeding with a method of help that makes their life better.

For some this will be simply crossdressing but for others only outright transition.

I've moved beyond worrying about my own labelling to just concerning myself with being happy and balanced.

joannaS said...

This is where Blanchard blows it a bit...

Q: With all of this tension around political correctness, I was shocked to see you wrote, “Behaviorally boys and girls with gender identity disorder resemble extreme sissies and tomboys respectively.” I actually laughed out loud when I read this. How in this minefield surrounding terminology do you get away with using the words “sissy” and “tomboy”?

A: Sissy is still used occasionally, especially if one wants to write for a more general audience. It’s not a technical word. But it’s a word that everybody understands perfectly well. It’s used carefully and in special contexts. I mean, what are you going to do? Nobody says you throw a ball like a cross-gender identified boy"

Being a product of his generation and having a certain innate bias is not a problem unless you are a published and respected authority. In this case he exercises extremely poor judgement. This is unfortunate.

Jack Molay said...

@joannaS

Blancahrd: "A: Yes, under my proposal you can now be a happy transvestite, or you can have a transvestic disorder."

This is an old well known trick which also was used against the homosexuals.

The gay movement was not amused, for following legitimate reasons:

1. The very fact that homosexuality was listed as a mental illness was enough to give their enemies the tools they needed to harass them. Regular people would not be able to understand this distinction.

2. The inclusion of homosexuality as a specific condition implied that their mental suffering was caused by them being homosexual, while it in fact was caused by social stigmatization. This stigmatization was strengthened by the inclusion of homosexuality in the DSM.

In the Third Edition of the DSM in 1980, the American Psychiatric Association explained the reasons for removing the diagnostic category of homosexuality:

"The crucial issue in determining whether or not homosexuality per se should be regarded as a mental disorder is not the etiology [cause] of the condition, but its consequences and the definition of mental disorder."

Blanchard has managed to reverse this principle. In the interview you will also see that he consider homosexuality a mental illness, and that it should have been reintroduced as such.

Regarding your relief of being left out of the manual: Well, I am still have been in there, as my crossdreaming causes me much pain. Moreover, all gender dysphoric trans women are mentally ill according to this section of the manual, even if their suffering is clearly caused by how society treats gender variant people and not by the condition itself.

Kelley Winters have written an excellent analysis of this, which I strongly recommend.

More info here and here .

PS: These days the term "transvestite" is as offensive as "sissy". He uses it deliberately to offend.

A. Quiet Voice said...
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joanna Santos said...

Jack

I am not offended by terminology because that's all it is....ie. crosddresser = transvestite but that term denotes the same thing to me. I would be more offended if I was told that was dressing was a perversion but fact is I only do normal everyday things as joanna and hurt no one in the process.

If someone thinks that is aberrant, it's their problem and not mine. I just tune out the rhetoric especially because the people labelling and judging me know nothing about my life nor what its like to desire to do this. All the more reason to disregard it...

Mitchell Gilks said...

Blanchard seems more and more like a foolish bigot, the more I see of him...

And I would absolutely obliterate him at sports.

joanna Santos said...

@Mitchell

LOL....

Sean said...

She seems like she would be an interesting person.

Jack Molay said...

@Sean

I am certain she is!

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