Social Justice is Corrupted by Capitalism!

I think we were closer to the ideal of an egalitarian respect for all individuals, at least in liberal circles, when I was young. For all their self-congratulatory and ageist belief in their progressiveness, it is the internet generation who are the more retrogressive and conservative. I suspect they have been conditioned by relentless online media marketing which relies, firstly, on profiling by rigid categorisation, and then by feeding its target audiences with a constant diet of idealised, and therefore stereotyped versions of the life they wish to live.

As I discussed in my previous post, younger transgender folk often seem to accept, in its entirety, the whole rigid, gothic edifice of conventional gender roles and expectations, believing that to be a traditional man or woman, they must embrace and embody every single facet of a sexual stereotype.

Trans people feel (understandably) uncomfortable with this, but their old-fashioned view of gender[1] leads them to reject absolutely all aspects of their biological sex, betray their own bodies as an indivisible part of that unchangeable institution.

In contrast, many of us cis, hetero-normies, although apparently more traditional, have a much more flexible attitude to gender conventions. We realise that nobody manifests all cultural constructs of femininity or masculinity. That would leave every man and woman on the planet as a grotesque caricature, without any individuality at all. In fact, you only need to demonstrate a choice selection of emblematic norms to be accepted.[2]  

Rather than simply accepting their biology and getting on with their lives, some trans people are willing to subject their body to the permanent insult and wounding abuse of invasive surgery, leaving them with a mutilated form that can, at best, only superficially resemble a parody of the womanhood or maleness they yearn for. I have often wondered if, rather than a solution to their anguish, gender-reassignment surgery is simply a form of self-harm, a more elaborate way of cutting yourself, to signal that distress to others. 

In doing so, trans people worsen their alienation from either hetero-normative gender,  and from anyone who has come to reluctantly accept the fact of their own imperfect biology. 

We all have the misfortune of being unable to choose whether we are male or female. The growing belief that we can is evidence of how deeply consumer capitalism has burrowed its way into our brains. 

[1] It would be interesting to know if transgender people are more likely to come from highly conventional backgrounds – the religious right, for example.

[2] I admit it still REALLY helps to be financially independent and heterosexual, if you want to demonstrate maleness, though!

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