Friday, April 9, 2010

The Swiss cheese model of gender.

You may have notice that I write a lot of responses to other people's posts here. That's what this blog is for - when I have something to say but can't fit it in the comment field. And today I found a post called "What makes a woman", via some link-clicking that started in a comment thread on queer theory that I was participating in, and the thoughts it provoked kept me busy for quite some time. It's about the OP's own view on what it is that makes someone a woman, and not a man:
I only ever feel like a woman when someone is making me feel like a woman. By catcalling me from across the street or holding a door open and saying “Ladies first” or by treating me like a child because I have a vagina. The rest of the time, when I’m not being coerced into feeling like a woman by the heteropatriarchy, I feel like a human being.
The OP has every right to be considered a human being and not a woman. The thing is, she's contrasting her experience with that of transgender and transsexual women (emphasis in original):
The transwomen say they are women because they define themselves as women, and demand to be treated accordingly.
But I am a woman because society defined me as a woman, and will treat me accordingly even though I would rather be treated like a human being.
I have to say I'm confused - if the OP is only a woman because society said so, then it seems to me that the first six words of the second sentence should have been unnecessary.