|There are many levels to feminism that should be more known but unfortunately, are not. Focuses on transfeminism and third world feminism vs. Western feminism.|
There is more to feminism than just White feminism. This essay talks about the different types of feminism like transfeminism and third world feminism.
The transgender community is one that understands full how sex and gender are not the same, unlike our society that has showers thrown for the gender of the baby which automatically gives in to their cisgender, but we’ve come somewhat along to understand the T in LGBTQ communities. Being a transgendered person means to change one’s assigned sex from birth to another identity.
This means that transwomen are women who were previously male due to their gentials but did not even feel like a men and needed out of this imbalance and vice versa to transgendered men. In Emi Koyama’s, The Transfeminist Manifesto (2006), not only does the author talk about the trans-community and the struggles but she also discusses and breaks down what and how is transfeminism different and needed for mainstream feminists to hear and understand. Not only are we living in a patriarchal society which enforces gender roles so heavily on humans, we live in a place of judgement.
It’s like certain qualifications to do anything or even be anything. With mainstream feminism, at first, they disagreed with anyone else’s idea of feminism and disregarded the factors like race, gender, socioeconomic status, and other intersectionality factors to the overall goal of feminism but after the other feminists fighting for their say in feminism, mainstream feminism made them go through a sort of check list to make sure it was qualified.
Koyama argues that being transfeminine is where no one should be forced to make decisions or have to prove themselves of being a real feminist since the passing of a real or normal women is different in their book since they are transgendered and have crossed over the boundary man and woman (Koyama, 2006). Her view also breaks down male privilege for those radical feminists that take it personally who view that transgendered women take a break from the patriarchal bubble by becoming a women and not having to deal with the pressures and rules of how to be the perfect man by society rulebook. She clearly shows that there’s nothing to be afraid of and to not deny witnessing what male privilege is to the female community. With knowledge comes power so by actually informing feminists on how to control their own privilege and to confront theirs, this can help build bridges and make even more common ground for all feminists (Koyama, 2006).
This is just one of the major view points brought up, other key viewpoints are violence against women and how transwomen are way more attacked than females because of the perpetrator’s knowledge of them being transgender (Koyama, 2006).
Safety is a huge factors for women and its not any less for transgendered women who maybe raped but since they may have a penis that could cause more violence/ aggression and assault. Hate crimes are also a huge concern for this community-people just don’t accept and hate and hurt.
It’s deeply saddening and heartbreaking how less protected transgendered people are and how they know how high the risks are of their safety being a problem. We do live in a society that thinks they have a damn right to say about our female bodies so imagine transfeminist adding on the medical talk about having a right to make their bodies with their own gender identity and having to understand the women health care movements and ideas and get their own voice too (Koyama, 2006). Being a transfeminist is the understanding that feminism is not solo based on mainstream white females who don’t like being solo house wives and that there are MANY levels and issues from being a female from all women that need to be addressed and heard.
This article shows how transfeminism is the new mindset that all feminists should have, “Women should not be accused of reinforcing gender stereotypes for making personal decisions, even if these decisions appear to comply with certain gender roles; such as purity test is disempowering to women because it denies our agency, and it will only alienate a majority of women, trans or not, from taking part in the feminist movement.” (Koyama, 2006). This is very important to understand and informs oneself about the transgender community and further more the importance of transfeminism and it’s values and impact it can have to society.
Breaking down White Feminism
Along with transfeminism needed to be a bigger, louder and more accepted type of feminism without all the “requirements” like white feminism, it’s quite shocking thinking that when feminism is attached to another word, it would still replicate it’s meaning and not leave things out. However, it’s does that exactly when it in fact should not-Chandra Mohanty breaks down how Western feminism dismisses globalization, and how it does not use its power to talk about the things it dismisses and shines the light on other factors when it’s doing no one any good. The author discusses different points that she understands the whole point of decolonization and that Third World people “live under the eyes of Wester Eyes”. (Mohanty, 2003). With people not correctly understanding different cultures and trying to westernize or straight them out to their own preferred culture is already a problem, western feminism does not include issues third world feminisms struggle with.
There are no borders which means that global and/or physical territorial issues don’t exist, they exist and go along with each other, linked locally and globally (Mohanty, 2003). She gives examples on how to educate women with not just the problems colored women face but with the connection of both herself and background of the colored women’s history, experiences, struggles and women from the third world and south (Mohanty, 2003). With this kind of knowledge, not only does it touch upon factor for intersectionality but it gives western feminism a real sense of how to bring justice to everyone. Political education will help students learn about different things like inequities between genders in the world or complex issues or connections between women that they can relate or understand on like power, privilege etc.
Along with breaking down and giving ideas on how to enlighten future activists and young people, Mohanty adds on to asking the question on to why does globalized women always a specific representation, like it seems to be fitting in the stereotypes of globalized women whether it be a sex worker or an immigrant service worker or a victim of war etc. (Mohanty, 2003). Demolishing these types of overused representations can allow more knowledge and understand the distinct roles women become and are all of them together. It’s hard to advocate for something when there are so many little pieces or fragments left behind, it’s like holding a photo with holes blurring out the image. To unblur the holes, there has to be some work done to understand where, why the blurs are there and how to undo them and add them to the picture, and by re-adjusting the overall quality of the picture, then only does the photo have a message. Then the message gets fully sent around without having to explain the blurred holes in various ways without the proper knowledge. It’s easier said than done but in order for it to actually happen, where feminism accepts transfeminism and their aspect on different ideas and by politically educating, properly, those who don’t really understand Third World feminism and what Western feminism is and how it is not the same thing, only when work gets done to see the change, then we will all unite way stronger than when we first started.
“Transfeminism believes that a society that honors cross-gender identities is the one that treats people of all genders fairly, because our existence is problematic only when there is a rigid gender hierarchy.” (Koyama, 2006). This is a very great acknowledgement of the overall goal to achieve in this society where people are honored, not hated, not killed, not ignored and not unprotected. I chose this piece because not only does it inform us why transfeminism is a must have but it also challenges our society to become and to accept and be okay with a gender-neutral society, an equal balanced community that has issues resolved for ALL genders.
Remember, there is no “I” in team.
Koyama, Emi. (2006). The Transfeminist Manifesto.
Mohanty, Chandra. (2003). Under Western Eyes at the Turn of the Century.