SDS Womyn's Caucus Blog

Posts Tagged ‘cis privilege

Posted by Robin, Philly

hugging salt n pepper

A person-shaped salt shaker and pepper shaker hug each other, the salt shaker looks a bit taken aback.

This is post #2 in a series called I.N.A.Y.: It’s Not About You. I.N.A.Y. #1: “Effectively” Calling Out Patriarchy can be found here.

Recently, I had a series of discussions with a new male acquaintance about touching. Basically, I had tried to communicate that I disliked him touching me, and he kept doing it anyway. When he was confronted about this, his explanation was that he thinks people in our society are too isolated from each other, and in an effort to bridge our isolation, he goes out of his way to touch people.

The guy is certainly not the first person in my life to repeatedly touch me when I’ve tried to make it clear I don’t want them to, but I’ll give it to him that he’s the first person to have apparently put so much thought into it, indeed to have a theory around it.

The problem is, by reducing it to a formulaic theory (we’ve talked about the link between theory and patriarchy on here before), he is putting his ideology before the desires of actual people in his life. He is being harmfully dogmatic, his actions say “I know best what is good for you, better than you do. Even if you ask me not to touch you, I will because I know what you need.” I.E., he’s being paternalistic and entitled.

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-by Tim (formerly of DC SDS)-

*cisgender: (noun.)

1. the contrast to trans on the gender spectrum
2. someone who lives and identifies as the sex they were assigned at birth

1.  Ask EVERYONE which pronouns they use, and actually commit yourself to using them.  Please please please stop only asking people who look “gender-variant” enough about their pronouns.  First of all, we (shockingly) don’t like always being singled out in groups for our gender presentation.  Secondly, you can’t tell people’s gender identities by looking at them.  We should be building a radical culture where everyone can have their identities respected, and making questions about pronouns a habit for everyone makes it much easier for that to take shape, rather than trans and genderqueer people having to feel the pressure of constantly outing themselves every time they meet a new persyn.
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